Men’s soccer beats Princeton

Jon Albert

The men’s soccer team was able to secure its second victory of the weekend Sunday afternoon, defeating the Princeton Tigers 2-0 at the Villanova West Campus Soccer Complex.

Junior defender Kevin Garcia and freshman forward Dylan Renna scored goals for the Wildcats, who improved to 3-2-1 for the season. The victory was the second over an Ivy League opponent in three days — the ‘Cats defeated the Penn Quakers 1-0 on Friday.

Garcia’s scoring chance came in the 38th minute, when senior midfielder Anthony Griffith won the ball at midfield, and lobbed a through ball to a streaking Garcia. Garcia was able to place the ball over the head of Tiger goalkeeper Sean Lynch, giving the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead that they would not relinquish.

“Scoring a goal is one of the most satisfying feelings,” Garcia said. “But even more satisfying is to score the deciding goal for your team in a game that we had a lot to prove.”

Garcia, recently named a co-captain along with senior Nick Rouzier and sophomore Kyle McCarthy, spoke of the responsibility of being named captain.

“I feel extremely honored to be named co-captain,” Garcia said. “I understand that it comes with a big amount of responsibility and that it entails a lot of work, but I feel I am prepared to handle it.”

The ‘Cats were able to add the lead in the 87th minute, when Renna was able to collect a pass from sophomore Emerson Lawrence and put it past the Princeton keeper. Renna was named Big East Rookie of the Week on Monday morning, tallying a goal and an assist in the ‘Cats’ two weekend games. Renna is the team’s leading scorer this season, with five points.

The 2-0 lead was more than enough to keep the Tigers at bay due to another outstanding performance from the Wildcat defense, specifically junior goalie Chris Bresnahan.

Bresnahan recorded his second straight shutout of the season after making seven saves, and has averaged just one goal allowed per game this season. This defensive success comes without injured senior centerback Chris Christian, who was hurt in the team’s loss to Drexel three weeks ago.

Despite being named Soccer Six player of the week, Bresnahan was quick to attribute the strong defensive performance as a group, not individual effort.

“Our success is due to several factors,” Bresnahan said. “Most players gave up a portion of their summer in order to train together here at Villanova. This allowed us to gel together on the field and build team chemistry off the field.”

Sunday’s game was the first of four consecutive games for the men’s soccer team at Villanova’s West Campus Soccer Complex. The team played St. Joe’s yesterday afternoon, and starts conference play Saturday afternoon at 12 noon against Seton Hall. Bresnahan is confident that the defense will have another one of their inspired performances against the Pirates.

“Our back line has stepped up and played tremendously after the loss of Chris Christian,” Bresnahan said. “We plan to build on this as we head into Big East play. The chemistry [that we have now] has allowed us to defend as a unit and has helped ease the transition for our freshman who have made contributions.”