Nov. 8, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa.--During the final weekend of regular season conference play Villanova (11-17, 5-8 BIG EAST) will play a road match against Syracuse and a home match against Pittsburgh, with the latter match also being Senior Day for the team. The match at Syracuse is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday night and the contest against Pitt gets underway at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
Entering play at the start of the weekend the Wildcats still have a chance to secure a spot in the BIG EAST Championship which begins next week. Although there are a bevy of possible scenarios that could play out throughout the league Villanova can at least go into the weekend with the confidence that comes from having already defeated Syracuse and Pittsburgh this season.
Two weeks ago at Jake Nevin Field House the Wildcats tallied a 3-1 win over Syracuse in which Villanova took the final three sets to earn the victory. Freshman setter Emma Pettit (Ft. Collins, Colo.) had 45 assists in that match and was at the forefront of a terrific passing effort by the whole team. Three different players had at least 11 kills in the win over the Orange, including freshman outside hitter Lauren Carpenter (Lakewood, Colo.) with a team-high 15 kills.
Last month at Fitzgerald Field House in Pittsburgh the Wildcats followed a similar script in defeating the Panthers in four sets. In that match too, Villanova lost the first set but surged back to take the next three frames. Carpenter and senior outside hitter Krista Andersen (Lakeland, Fla.) recorded 14 kills apiece to help lead the way that afternoon.
One of the more consistent aspects of the Wildcats play this season has been the defensive effort and in that regard Villanova is led by junior libero Mariah Henley (Hockessin, Del.). Heading into the match at Syracuse on Friday night Henley has played in all 104 sets for the Wildcats this season and has 595 digs, a figure that ranks second in the BIG EAST along with her average of 5.72 digs per set. She has been even better in contests against league opponents and has averaged 5.92 digs per set in 13 conference matches.
Fans who are planning to attend the match against Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon are advised that it is Senior Day and a ceremony will be held prior to the start of the match to honor the career achievements of the team's senior class. The Senior Day ceremony will start at 2 p.m.