Women’s soccer nabs four-seed, faces UConn

Jon Albert

Junior forward Justine Wollner tallied her first score of the season Sunday to beat DePaul 1-0 and helped the ‘Cats secure a home game in the first round of the Big East Tournament.

This win gave the Wildcats (11-4-4, 4-4-3 Big East) the opportunity to host the first round game today against UConn at the West Campus Soccer Complex at 2 p.m.

Senior goalkeeper Molly Williams posted another solo shutout, her sixth of the season, to support the single tally from the ‘Cats. Williams lowered her goals-against average to 0.89. She also has her defense to thank, which has been playing its best when it has mattered most.

The team’s defense has been a brick wall lately, recording four shutouts in its last five games and allowing just two goals to the opposition in nearly 500 minutes of play.

The sole Villanova goal came late in the first half off the ‘Cats only corner kick of the period. Senior midfielder Erin Byrnes’ kick didn’t directly lead to a score, but Villanova kept the ball in its possession long enough for Wollner to boot it past Blue Demons goalkeeper Clare Hanold.

Even though the ‘Cats kept the scoring to a minimum with a shutout, the Blue Demons still had their chances. DePaul owned a 12-8 advantage overall in shots and a 6-4 margin in shots on goal. For the Wildcats, junior midfielder Rachel Schuyler led the team with three shots, including two in the second half.

The ‘Cats victory over the Blue Demons (10-8-2, 5-6-0 Big East) was their fifth in as many games against the team, and was a solid rebound after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Notre Dame on Friday in South Bend.

The ‘Cats, who locked up the No. 4 seed in one of the two divisions with the win, will be looking to avenge an early season road loss to the Huskies. In that game, UConn held onto its own 1-0 lead to defeat the ‘Cats in Storrs.

The No. 4 seed is the culmination of a successful season for the team. The team went 11-4-4 and finished at .500 in regular season conference play (4-4-3). The Wildcats won three of their last six matchups and lost only once in those same six games.

The Wildcats’ 11-4-4 record this season marks their 11th straight year with a winning record and at least 10 wins.

This is the 14th time in the 17-year history of the Big East Championship that Villanova has qualified for the conference tournament.

The winner of today’s game will travel to Wisconsin to play Marquette on Sunday in the quarterfinals.