By Mike Miller
The Lady Wildcats of Villanova saw their amazing run of 16 consecutive victories come to an end last Saturday when they fell to Whittier Christian in the CIF-SS semifinals, 48-30. The loss was the second this season to Whittier Christian, who also defeated VPS back in December, 46-20. With the win, Whittier Christian will play Maranatha in the Division VAA title game next week.
In their semifinal matchup, Villanova struggled to score points and after falling behind 27-14 at halftime, their 13-point deficit proved to be too much to overcome. The Heralds were led by Jacqueline Joseph (13 points) and Kristen Schafer (12 points) and neither player missed a shot from the field in game. Both Joseph and Schafer went six for six and the Heralds shot better than 47 percent from the floor to overtake the Lady Wildcats.
“Whittier Christian was a good team, but we definitely were not outmatched,” said head coach Sarah Angell. “We just couldn't make a shot to save our lives. We shot 17 percent from the field and 37 percent from the free throw line (we shot a total of 32 free throws).
“We didn't allow Whittier Christian to score for about five minutes in the third quarter, but we weren't able to take advantage of our great defense because we couldn't seem to put the ball in the basket,” said Angell. “In a big game like Saturday's, we just couldn't afford to shoot so bad as a team.”
Villanova was led by senior Katilin Reilley, who continued her stellar play with 12 points. With the loss, VPS will bid farewell to the trio of Reilley, Maryrose Vigorita and Hannah Hoffman. The three seniors established a winning tradition at Villanova by winning an incredible four consecutive league titles.
VPS fans have a lot to look forward to in the future as well. Angell and staff will welcome back several key players, including Rebecca Parziale, who was greatly missed this season after suffering a season-ending injury.
Current freshman Hannah Kolbeck will be looking to improve over the summer and, after a terrific freshman campaign, Kolbeck could become one of the most dominant players in the county.
“Despite the loss, I am really proud of how the girls played and what they accomplished as a team,” said Angell. “They never gave up and played hard until the buzzer sounded at the end of the game.”