Women's Volleyball Suffers 3-1 Loss to Villanova

RADNOR TOWNSHIP, PENN. (September 20, 2013)—The Sacred Heart women's volleyball team dropped its first match of the Villanova Classic 3-1 to the hosting Wildcats Friday night. Freshman Sarah Krufka (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) continued to show her power on offense leading the all players with 18 kills. The loss drops the Pioneers to 5-5 on the season.

The score tied on seven occasions in the first set with neither team stringing together enough points to get an edge up. Late in the set, a service ace by rookie Ana Gonzalez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) and a Villanova attack error knotted the game for the final time at 20. A Wildcat kill broke the tie, once again giving Villanova the lead, and sent Mariah Henley to serve. Henley put together a four-point service run to put the Wildcats at set-point 24-20. The Pioneers managed two more points before a SHU service error gave Villanova the set 25-22.

The teams exchanged points to open the second set until the Wildcats gained a lead on another Henley run, 7-4. After falling behind by four points, the Pioneers rebounded. A kill from Krufka narrowed the gap to just two points, 11-9, and sent Gonzalez, who is second on the team in service aces, back to serve. An ace from the rookie libero, two kills from Krufka and a Villanova attack error lifted Sacred Heart to a 13-11 lead. SHU spent the rest of the set defending that lead, allowing the Wildcats to tie the score three more times, but never relinquishing the lead. Up by one, 22-21, Krufka's three-point service run pushed the Pioneers across the finish line, with Allison Riggs (Anaheim, Calif.) capping off the 25-22 win with a kill. Krufka notched half (nine) of her kills in the second set, while hitting an impressive .417. Freshman setter Kiki Robinson (Bakersfield, Calif.) had her best set of the night recording 14 assists.

Riggs posted an errorless third set, hitting .600 (3-for-5). Sacred Heart couldn't carry the momentum through the break into the third set. After falling into an immediate 2-0 deficit, the Pioneers only came within two points of the Wildcats for the rest of the set as they fell 25-17.

Despite taking the opening two points, not much in the fourth set seemed to go Sacred Heart's way. Villanova's first point of the set was the first of eight unanswered points that put the Pioneers in a hole that they could not climb out of.  Only managing to come within six points of catching the Wildcats, SHU dropped the final set 25-14. Errors hurt the Pioneers in the final set as they only hit -.108 and posted 11 errors. Krufka, who tied the set-best, accounted for four of Sacred Heart's seven kills. 

SHU continues play in the Villanova Classic Saturday, facing Penn at 1:00 p.m. and Norfolk State at 5:00 p.m.