Volleyball Splits Weekend Homestand

The win over Butler may be the spark needed to get the Wildcats’ season back on track.

Villanova was swept by Xavier on Friday in Jake Nevin Fieldhouse before defeating Butler on Saturday.

Xavier (6-6) faced an injury-riddled Villanova squad and swept the Wildcats, 25-16, 25-21 and 25-17. Villanova bounced back against Butler on Saturday winning all three sets, 25-12, 25-23 and 27-25. 

On Friday, Villanova went into the game having lost two straight matches and dealing with a lot of injuries. 

“We’ve had more injuries this season than I’ve had in any season since I’ve started coaching here,” Coach Josh Steinbach said. “This is my 15th year, and we are injury riddled.”

Xavier took advantage of the beat-up Wildcats by going out on 6-2 run in the first set. Villanova tried to push back with a 5-2 run to make it 8-7. Keeping it close all the way to 15-13, Xavier finally went on a 10-3 run to finish off the set, 25-16. Villanova had nine errors in the set, so while both teams had roughly the same amount of kills, those errors made all the difference. 

The second set was tight until Xavier went up 24-18 and finished off Villanova in the second, despite a 3-0 Wildcat run. The final set score was 25-21. Xavier only had one error with 16 kills in this set and a .455 hitting percentage. 

Villanova played well in the beginning of the third set. Down 13-8 after Xavier had a 5-0 run and three kills, Villanova went on a 6-1 run to tie it up at 14 with a pair of kills by Madeline Barber. Xavier went on a 11-3 run right after to end the match, 25-17. 

Riley Homer led the Wildcats with 10 kills, while Barber had eight. Villanova had nine fewer kills and 12 more errors that went along with a .130 hitting percentage. Kelly Franxman led Xavier with 12 kills and seven digs. Xavier had a hitting percentage of .398, which was the second highest of the season for the Musketeers. They improve to 7-6, while Villanova falls to 8-7.

Villanova faced Butler on Saturday, and the first set was all Villanova. Villanova started off a 12-0 run behind seven combined kills from Kiera Booth and Rose Crist. Villanova had a 16-3 lead and continued to fight, winning 25-12. Butler only had six kills with five errors, compared to ‘Nova’s 11 kills. 

Villanova took a 3-0 lead to start the second, but Butler closed the gap to 7-6. Villanova continued to lead and eventually got to 19-13, but a late run by Butler cut that lead to 24-23 before Booth had a set clinching kill to give Villanova a 25-23 win and a 2-0 set lead. Villanova had 13 kills in that set. Butler only had 11 with nine of them coming from Melody Davidson and Brittany Robinson. 

The third set was back and forth with each team trading points. Butler’s Megan Sheridan had four kills in the first 12 points to tie the game at 6-6. Villanova would go down, 17-14, before going on a 4-0 run that gave them the 18-17 lead with three kills coming from Crist. Butler would pull away and make the score 23-20 on a 5-0 run, but Villanova came back on a 7-2 run that gave the Wildcats their first win in four matches, 27-25. 

Booth and Crist led the Wildcats with 15 and 11 kills. Both had a .500 hitting percentage. Belle Morgan made her return and had 27 assists. Megan Sheridan led the Bulldogs with 11 kills. Villanova moved to 9-7, while Butler fell to 8-9.

Villanova continues its long home stand with games against Georgetown (4-11) Wednesday night, and against UConn (11-5) Friday night.