While campus was emptied as students flocked home to celebrate Thanksgiving, the three Villanova teams in action this past week had to celebrate it on the road while they participate in some big tournaments.
Roller Coaster Ride:
The volleyball team had the biggest tournament of them all. The Wildcats were the 2-seed in this year’s Big East Tournament, their first since 2010. In the semifinals on Friday afternoon, Villanova took on Big East Player of the Year Abbey Bessler and the Xavier Musketeers. Regardless, the Wildcats used a team effort to dismantle the Musketeers in three straight sets: 25-20, 25-19, 25-17. Emma Pettit tallied 39 assists, spreading the wealth across the board. Five different Wildcats had at least seven kills, with freshman Amanda Pedersen-Henry leading the way with 13 kills.
The following day, Villanova took on defending Big East champion Creighton in the finals. It was Villanova’s first trip to the Big East Tournament finals since 1997. Unfortunately, the Wildcats could not topple the Bluejays on their home court. Villanova was swept by Creighton, losing 25-18, 25-18, 25-17.
Regardless, the heartbreak was quickly repaired. At Selection Sunday, the NCAA committee announced that the Wildcats will be in the NCAA Tournament. It’s their first appearance to the Big Dance since 1997. They will take on Dayton in the first round on Friday, December 4, at 7 p.m.
Feature: Spiking It To Cancer
Preview: 2015 Big East Volleyball Tournament Primer
Recap: Day One from Omaha: Big East Volleyball Tournament Recap
Recap: ‘Nova Volleyball Loses to Creighton in Big East Tournament Finals
Article: The ‘Cats Are In! ‘Nova Volleyball Among Field of 64
Kings of Brooklyn (Again):
Last season, Villanova won the Legends’ Classic at the Barclays Center during Thanksgiving week. This year, the Wildcats did the same. This time they won the NIT Season Tip-off. On Thursday, the Wildcats played the Stanford Cardinal. Rebounding continued to be an issue for Villanova, as Stanford beat them on the boards. The Cardinal held a 55-35 rebounding advantage. Meanwhile, the Wildcats struggled from on the floor, going 19-for-62. However, Villanova’s defense continued to be great and freshman phenom Jalen Brunson was impressive. Brunson had a game-high 18 points en route to a 59-45 win over the Cardinal.
The next day, another stalwart defensive effort helped lead the Wildcats to a 69-52 victory over Georgia Tech in the NIT Season Tip-off Championship Game. On the other end, Villanova adjusted its game plan after struggling from beyond the arc. The Wildcats started to get the ball inside, and found much success doing so. As a result, they shot their most efficient performance thus far, making 52.9% of their shots. Josh Hart was named to the all-tournament team, while Brunson was given MVP honors.
Article: Game Preview: Stanford Cardinal
Recap: Villanova Overcomes Cold Shooting Performance to Beat Stanford
Article: Game Preview: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Recap: Wildcats Win NIT Season Tip-off, Win 69-52 over Georgia Tech
Christmas Comes Early:
The women’s basketball team participated in the Lehigh Christmas City Classic in Bethlehem, Pa. this past weekend and brought back some hardware. On Friday, they beat local Philadelphia rival Drexel to begin the tournament. The game was close at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Villanova broke away near the end to come out victorious. Tournament MVP Caroline Coyer had 22 points, eight rebounds, and two assists in the win. Three other Wildcats also finished in double figures: Katherine Coyer (12), Adrianna Hahn (15), and Jordan Dillard (10).
On Sunday, Villanova took on host Lehigh in the championship game. The Wildcats won comfortably this time around, pulling away from the Mountain Hawks as the game went along. They cruised to a 65-44 victory. C. Coyer led the way once again with 21 points. Dillard and Hahn highlighted a strong effort off the bench, combining for 23 points. Hahn was named to the all-tournament team.
Recap: Women’s Basketball Beats Drexel in Lehigh Christmas City Classic
Recap: An Early X-Mas Gift: Villanova Wins Lehigh Christmas City Classic