Oct. 25, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - As part of a busy Homecoming Weekend on campus the volleyball team will be in action on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons as Villanova takes on Syracuse and Marquette in BIG EAST matches. The contests against both opponents this weekend begin at 1 p.m. at Jake Nevin Field House.
The match against Syracuse on Saturday will be the Wildcats annual Dig Pink match. Fans who are coming to the game are encouraged to wear pink to support raising awareness for the fight against breast cancer. Villanova is also continuing its partnership with the Side Out Foundation to raise money to support breast cancer research. Donations are now being accepted by the Wildcats and the donation form can be accessed by clicking on the link at the top of this release.
Villanova enters play this weekend with a 10-14 overall record and a 4-5 mark in conference play. The matches against Syracuse and Marquette are the second half of a four-match home stand for the Wildcats, who began conference play by playing five of their first seven matches on the road versus league opponents.
Junior libero Mariah Henley (Hockessin, Del.) has been at the forefront of a Villanova defense which is the best in the BIG EAST this season. Entering play this weekend the Wildcats lead the conference in total digs with 1,607 and are first in digs per set at 17.66.
Henley is the top individual defensive player in the league with 532 total digs and an average of 5.85 per set. She has been even better in conference matches and averages 6.31 digs per set versus BIG EAST foes. Overall for the season Henley has notched 14 matches with 20 or more digs and three matches with at least 30 digs. She has twice reached a career-high 34 digs in a match during the year.
On the offensive side Villanova has been paced by outside hitters Krista Andersen (Lakeland, Fla.) and Lauren Carpenter (Lakewood, Colo.). A senior who started the year as the Wildcats top offensive returner from last season, Andersen became the 14th player in program history to reach 1,000 career kills earlier this month. She ranks second on the team with 195 total kills this season and averages 2.29 kills per set.
Carpenter has been the most consistent performer in a talented Villanova freshman class this year. She leads the team with 250 kills and 2.75 kills per set, while she and Henley are the only two Wildcats who have been on the court in all 91 of the team's sets during the season.
Villanova faced both Syracuse and Marquette on the road last season, losing to each opponent by scores of 3-1 and 3-0, respectively. The match against the Orange on Saturday will be the first of two between the teams this season, as the Wildcats will travel to Syracuse for a match next month.