For Villanova, seven is far from a lucky number.
Heading into the season, the Wildcats were projected to finish seventh in the Big East.
“Before preseason started, we taped sevens all over the locker room,” senior setter Emma Pettit said. “It was a constant reminder that we have all this untapped potential that we’re ready to unleash.”
Fast forward to Saturday night, the Wildcats placed the finishing touches on an excellent regular season, sweeping St. John’s in the final game of the season.
Villanova beat the Red Storm in three straight sets: 29-27, 25-16, 25-14.
With the win on Saturday night, the Wildcats notched their eighth sweep at home this season. They finish the season with a perfect 12-0 record at Jake Nevin Field House.
“I don’t know if that’s a first or not, but it’s certainly a first since I’ve been at Villanova and it feels pretty good,” Villanova head coach Josh Steinbach. “That’s one of the things we want to do well – to play well on our home court.”
The Wildcats started off the game a little rough. The Red Storm didn’t make it easy for them, coming in fired up after being swept in the last meeting between these two teams.
St. John’s grabbed an early lead, only to have it later neutralized by Villanova. Once Villanova tied the game at 11, the two teams were neck-and-neck the whole way. Neither team was able to get a clear lead over the other. The only time a team got separation by two points was when Villanova claimed the set.
The Wildcats needed a little extra, winning the first set 29-27.
“It took a little bit to find rhythm but once we clinched that first set, it was smooth sailing from then on,” Pettit said. “Everyone turned it on, it all came together.”
Villanova went on to claim the second set in convincing fashion. With the set tied at 10, the Wildcats used a 10-3 run to take a commanding lead. From there, they were in an excellent position to claim the second set, winning it 25-16.
The third and final set felt just like the one before it. The Wildcats used another big run to take control and cruise to a 25-14 victory.
Pettit, who has spent most of her career setting and assisting her teammates, notched the final point of the regular season with a block. She finished with 39 assists and five blocks.
Claire Crutchfield and Lauren Carpenter both had a team-high nine kills. Gabby Pethokoukis, Allie Loitz, and Amanda Pedersen-Henry each had eight kills. Pethokoukis added seven blocks to her performance, while Loitz also had 10 digs and four blocks.
The Wildcats finish the year 24-7 overall. They have clinched the second seed of the Big East Tournament, and it will be their first trip since 2010.
“I’m excited, I can’t wait,” senior Lauren Carpenter said. “This is something we’ve been working for all four years.”
Before the game, the seniors were honored as a part of the Senior Night ceremonies.
Six seniors – Anna Dwyer, Emma Pettit, Lauren Carpenter, Michelle Adams, Brittany Rembert, and Colleen Hickey, and redshirt junior Gabby Pethokoukis were honored before the game
“The seniors are great kids, they’ve played really hard since the moment they got on campus,” Coach Steinbach said. “Hopefully they have another weekend, and hopefully another two weekends left in them.”