Wildcats Edge Past Owls in Five Set battle

09 Dec 2021 | 15:00 | Volleyball

In their second match of the day, the Villanova Wildcats (7-4) put their 3-0 loss to Princeton in the rearview with a 3-2 win over Temple (3-6) Friday night. The duo of Homer and Booth were forces on the attack and defense against the Owls.

“Kiera and Riley are going to continue to be key cogs for us,” Villanova Volleyball Head Coach Josh Steinbach said. “They’re improving and we need to get food production from other pieces as well for us to have a successful Big East season.”

The Wildcats hit the ground running in the first set and busted the doors open with a 15-8 lead. Down seven, the Owls struggled to maintain pace with the Wildcats and ultimately fell 25-17 in the first set. Sanaa Barnes and Homer each collected four kills in the first set.

Villanova didn’t skip a beat in the second set and held the lead the entire time for a 25-19 win. Homer racked up six kills in the second set and Kiera Booth added four of her own.

The tide began to turn in the Owls’ favor in the third set. Despite opening the set down 3-0, Temple went on a 4-0 run and didn’t look back. The Wildcats tied the score at nine but couldn’t gain the lead. After a kill from Miray Bolukbasi iced the match for Temple and led to a 25-18 third set win.

Villanova recovered early in the fourth set and gained a 10-6 lead after block assists from Madeline Barber and Belle Morgan. The Owls countered with a 4-0 run to tie it at 10 and both sides traded blows from that point on. After three lead changes, the Owls were up 19-17 but the Wildcats continued to rally and cut the deficit to 24-23 after a Homer kill. Temple answered with a kill from Bolukbasi for a 25-23 fourth set win which forced a fifth set.

Tied 5-5 in the fifth set, Villanova had a crucial 4-0 run powered by a kill from Booth and a solo block from Belle Morgan for a 9-5 lead. Temple continued to chase down the Wildcats and cut the deficit to 12-8 but a 3-0 run sealed the match win for Villanova.

“It’s good to fight and squeeze out a win,” Steinbach said. “It wasn’t easy without Clare (Delaplane) available.”

Inside The Box Score
Homer led the Wildcats with 22 kills.
Booth recorded a season-high 14 kills.
Averi Salvador led the team with 21 digs, one shy of her season-high of 22.
Morgan set a new season-high with 46 assists against the Owls.

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