Oct. 31, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Coming off its first conference road victory in shutout fashion over DePaul last weekend, the Villanova volleyball squad (12-10, 4-5 BIG EAST) returns to the court Saturday when the Wildcats travel to Washington D.C. for a showdown against league foe Georgetown (9-13, 3-6 BIG EAST) at 7 p.m. in the McDonough Arena.
With only nine matches left in the season the Wildcats sit in fifth place in the nine-team BIG EAST, placing them just shy of the postseason which sends only the conference's top four teams to Omaha, Neb. That makes this match with Georgetown that much bigger for a Villanova squad that will welcome three of the top four conference teams to the Jake Nevin Field House in less than two weeks.
"Every match is a big one for us right now, so this match is a must win," Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach said. "Our goal is to finish in the top four and reach the BIG EAST tournament. We need to string together several wins in a row coming down the stretch and that begins on Saturday."
Villanova will seek its second conference sweep this season after taking care of business against DePaul on Sunday. On Sept. 28, the Wildcats won their inaugural match in the new look BIG EAST, 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-21, 25-15), over Georgetown. The victory was number five in the midst of Villanova's season-high six-match winning streak, all coming at the Jake Nevin Field House.
Last match against the Hoyas, underclassmen Lauren Carpenter and Claire Crutchfield led an offensive attack that totaled 53 kills on the night. Carpenter tallied a match-high 18 kills, while Crutchfield was the most efficient player on the court with a .312 attack pct. and 13 kills. Senior libero Mariah Henley also registered a match-high 28 digs.
Georgetown is 3-3 in its last six conference matches, including victories over St. John's (3-2), Seton Hall (3-0) and DePaul (3-1), all on the road.
"Against Georgetown we will have to execute on our side of the net. Simply said, we will need to pass well and side out at a high percentage," Steinbach added. "Their middles are especially difficult to handle so we will need to serve tough to keep them from becoming involved."
The Wildcats have owned the series lately against the Hoyas. Villanova is 7-3 in its last 10 matches against Georgetown, which includes four consecutive victories against its BIG EAST counterpart.
Last week, sophomore Carpenter was named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll for the second consecutive week and third overall after leading both matches the Wildcats participated in kills, extending her double-digit kills streak to 16 in 2013. If the Wildcats expect to get back to .500 in the conference, Carpenter will need to continue the surge and play a key role Saturday.
This marks the final road match for the Wildcats before returning to Jake Nevin for three-straight matches against Creighton, Butler and Xavier to conclude the home schedule.
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