Women’s soccer wins fifth consecutive ‘Nova Classic

Amy Watkins

The women’s soccer team won its fifth consecutive title at the Villanova Classic last weekend, defeating Monmouth University 2-1 and UNC Charlotte 1-0.

The tournament hosted by the Wildcats, kicked off at West Campus Soccer Complex on Friday, where Charlotte posted a victory over Towson University, and Villanova later beat Monmouth. On Sunday, the two winning teams went head-to-head, while a battle for third place favored Monmouth in double overtime.

All three of Villanova’s goals in the Classic resulted from the combined efforts of forwards Katie Ryan and Heidi Sabatura, who collaborated on several game-changing plays.

Goalkeeper Jami Kranich and defender Patty Tierney, along with Ryan and Sabatura, were named to the All-Tournament Team.

‘Nova’s opener was action-packed, with both sides determined to advance. Sabatura put Villanova on the board with a goal in the second half and also scored the game-winner in overtime to seal the victory over Monmouth.

A 1-1 tie at the end of regulation set the stage for a late decision, and in the 97th minute, Ryan sparked an exciting finish by setting up her teammate in front of the net.

The Wildcats struggled to find offensive chances in the first half, falling behind early. After Monmouth took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute, Villanova only attempted two more shots before the break.

In the 65th minute, Ryan found space on the right side of the field and sent the ball to Sabatura, who one-timed it in to tie the score.

Toward the end of the game, Villanova continued to attack the net, firing seven of its 11 shots in the second half.

Forward Megan Verdeur almost ended the match early with a chance in the 87th minute but was called offside before shooting, forcing the Wildcats to get the job done in overtime. The deciding goal bounced off the bottom of the crossbar before reaching the nylon.

‘Nova’s endurance was again tested in Sunday’s championship, as the game was scoreless until Ryan tallied a goal in the 73rd minute.

Midfielder Justine Wollner recorded four shots, and Verdeur and Ryan each attempted two, as the Wildcats owned a 13-8 edge over Charlotte.

The Villanova defense also made a significant contribution to the win by challenging its opponent’s runs and passes at every opportunity.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Charlotte fought for possession and moved up the field, but the ‘Cats were able to keep their goalie out of danger, limiting the 49ers to just three shots in the second half.

A combination of Villanova’s defensive efforts and a string of fouls hurt Charlotte’s attempts to advance past midfield, as the referee made nine calls against the visiting team.

The Wildcats took advantage of free kick opportunities, but Charlotte keeper Natalie Lavigne’s four saves helped put an end to most of ‘Nova’s offensive charges

Ryan’s goal was assisted by both Sabatura and Wollner, who ran up the middle and tapped the ball to the right wing to set up the shot.

When play restarted Charlotte desperately searched for the equalizer, but Villanova remained in control, and the 49ers were unable to make any more threatening plays. Their last shot in the 83rd minute sailed high over the net.

Sunday’s win marked the first career solo shutout for Kranich, who recorded two saves. The freshman goalie also picked up five saves in the first game of the weekend.

The Wildcats will now take a 5-4 record into their next match at Seton Hall tomorrow night and will return home to host Rutgers on Sunday.