Wildcats on the Road for Important BIG EAST Weekend
Oct. 25, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Following a 1-1 split at the Jake Nevin Field House last weekend, the Villanova (11-9, 3-4 BIG EAST) volleyball team will return to the courts Saturday when they travel across the country to Milwaukee, Wis. to battle second place Marquette (12-5, 4-1 BIG EAST) at 6 p.m. in the Al McGuire Center. The following afternoon, the Wildcats will make its way to Chicago, Ill. for a 4 p.m. showdown with DePaul (15-4, 1-4 BIG EAST) at the McGrath Arena.
After Villanova avenged its loss with a 3-1 win over St. John's last Friday, the Wildcats fell to Seton Hall to move to 3-4 in the BIG EAST, placing them in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference with the Red Storm and Pirates.
This puts Villanova half a game shy of Butler (16-5, 3-3 BIG EAST) for fourth place, which marks the final spot in the BIG EAST tournament. The Wildcats still have a home and away left with Xavier (12-8, 4-2 BIG EAST) and third-place Butler, giving Villanova control of its own destiny in the conference.
"We're really grading ourselves on sweeps and splits. Obviously, our goal is to make sure we at least get a split with everybody and add some sweeps of our own," Steinbach added. "We need to take advantage of some of the opportunities we have when we beat somebody the first time, you get them the second time and chalk that up on the board as a sweep. That is something we're keeping track of and something we're talking about amongst the team."
Marquette handed Villanova its first BIG EAST loss earlier in the year when the Golden Eagles topped the Wildcats, 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-14), at the Jake Nevin Field House. Marquette is winners of 10 of their last 12 matches with the only losses coming to No. 5 Florida and previously ranked Creighton, both by the result of a shutout.
"I thought we played Marquette really tough the first time here at home and I think we should have some confidence against them. We know we can hang with that team offensively; we were even with them through three sets the last time but unfortunately, were down 2-1," Steinbach said. "It's going to be one of those matches where we are going to have to be ready to go from the opening whistle until the end of the match and play super hard."
Earlier in the season, Villanova recorded its second BIG EAST victory and only conference sweep over DePaul, 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 27-25), in midst of a season-high six-match winning streak at the Jake Nevin Field House on Dig Pink night.
Once again, Villanova showed why it continues to dominate the series against the Blue Demons and is now 8-1 all-time against its BIG EAST counterpart. In the win, sophomore Colleen Hickey came off the bench to spark the Wildcats with 10 kills on 18 hits (.444).
During the weekend against the Blue Demons and the Golden Eagles, sophomore Gabby Pethokoukis returned to the starting lineup after an injury sidelined her for 13 matches and earned BIG EAST honors for her impressive play that included 17 kills and a .452 attack pct., helping the Wildcats reach double-digit victories for the season.
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