Oct. 18, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa.--Through the first four weekends of conference play Villanova (10-12, 4-3 BIG EAST) has played five of its seven matches against league opponents on the road. For such a young group of Wildcats it is a positive sign that the team has come through that stretch with a 4-3 record, and an even better omen that Villanova is 2-0 in the two league matches that it has played on its home court.
Beginning on Friday night the pendulum swings back towards the home side when the Wildcats open a four-match home stand against BIG EAST foes. Villanova hosts DePaul (6-14, 1-6 BE) on Friday starting at 7 p.m. and will also take on Notre Dame (13-6, 6-1 BE) this weekend, with that match on Sunday at 2 p.m.
At the start of play this weekend the Wildcats are tied for fifth place in the conference standings and have won four of their last five BIG EAST matches. Last weekend Villanova went on the road to USF and Pittsburgh and came away with a 3-1 victory in the latter match.
Junior libero Mariah Henley (Hockessin, Del.) leads the BIG EAST with 474 digs this season and is averaging 5.64 digs per set. She came up with 23 digs at Delaware on Wednesday night, including 16 just in the first set of that match. For the season Henley has reached 20 digs in a match 12 times and has had 30 or more digs on two occasions.
The focal points of the Wildcats offense this season are freshman outside hitter Lauren Carpenter (Lakewood, Colo.) and senior outside hitter Krista Andersen (Lakeland, Fla.). Carpenter leadas the team with 229 kills (2.73 kills per set) and her 923 attack attempts are a team high by a margin of more than 300 tries. Andersen averages 2.32 kills per set and earlier this season became the 14th player in school history to reach 1,000 career kills.
Villanova has won all seven previous meetings against the Blue Demons since DePaul joined the BIG EAST prior to the 2005 season. In the seven matches between the teams the Wildcats have won 21 of the 25 sets played. Last season the teams played in Chicago and Villanova rallied for a 3-2 victory by winning the fourth and fifth sets. Andersen tallied 16 kills in the victory and sophomore defensive specialist Ally Moskitis (Long Beach, Calif.) established a career high with five service aces.
The second match of the weekend is on Sunday afternoon against the Fighting Irish, against whom the Wildcats are just 4-18 all-time. Recent history between the teams has been a much better barometer of the all-time series, however. All four wins for Villanova against Notre Dame have come since 2007 and the Wildcats are 4-2 in their last six matches against the Fighting Irish.
Last season Villanova defeated Notre Dame, 3-1, in South Bend in a match that was nationally televised on ESPNU.