Volleyball Sweeps Northeastern Tourney

The Wildcats won the final three sets against Northeastern to clinch a tournament opening victory.

Villanova started off the Northeastern Tournament facing Northeastern University. Coming off two straight three-set losses, Villanova started off rough in the first two sets, losing both 25-20 and 25-21. It then won the last three sets 25-14,25-13 and 15-13. After that, Villanova looked rejuvenated. It swept Bryant College in three sets 25-18, 25-18 and 25-21. Villanova went on to beat Harvard in three sets as well (25-22, 25-21 and 25-23), to improve to 6-3 on the season.

Villanova came into the Northeastern game on Friday reeling, after losing its last six sets to fall to 3-3 on the season. It didn’t look good to start either. Villanova was tied at 13 in the first set, before giving up four unanswered points and never regained the lead, finishing the set 25-20. 

With six lead changes, Northeastern had Villanova by two 23-21, before a pair of kills by the Huskies gave them the 25-21 triumph. This season, Villanova has not won a third set when losing the previous two. However, that would change, as Villanova came out and dominated the third set. After trailing 9-8, Villanova went on a 17-5 run, with Riley Homer and Clare Delaplane delivering key blocks en route to a 25-14 victory. 

At this point, Homer had 16 kills and Kiera Booth had four blocks. The fourth set was much like the second set. Multiple lead changes led the game to be tied at 20-20. It then went back and forth until 23-23, when Villanova was finally able to get two in a row and win that set 25-23. 

In the fifth set, Villanova was down 9-8, but went on a run that got it to 11-9 before Northeastern came out of a timeout and tied it at 12-12. Booth decided to call the game with two kills in the final three points to give the ‘Cats a 15-12 victory and 3-2 match win in an absolute thriller. Homer had a career high 25 kills in this win and the Wildcats moved to 4-3.

Whatever happened to Villanova in the third set of that game must have flipped a switch, because Villanova came into its matchup against Bryant on a rampage. It started off on a 5-0 run and never looked back in the first set, winning 25-18. Homer continued her hot streak with six kills in the first set. Bryant started off better in the second, staying close up to 17-16, but Villanova won that set too, 25-18. Villanova fired more shots at Bryant in the third taking a 16-8 lead. The Bulldogs were not out though, as they came back and made it 22-21, but Villanova ended it there with a 3-0 run to win, 25-21. Homer finished with a team high 10 kills, while Booth had nine kills and four blocks. 

Villanova brought the momentum into the Harvard game that night. In the first set, both sides fought back and forth, but Villanova got the lead. Although Harvard kept it close, Villanova won the set, 25-22. Nova took a 6-1 lead in the second and never let it go, winning 25-21. Harvard played its best in the third set. Down 17-11, Harvard came back and took the lead 21-20. However, Villanova came back and won the set, 25-23. Sanaa Barnes led with 13 kills. Booth had nine kills and a season high seven blocks. Homer recorded her eighth straight double-digit kill game with 12.

Villanova will go into Philly next week for the Temple tournament, facing Princeton (4-2) and Temple (3-5) on Friday, before finishing with one match against Penn (3-3) on Saturday.