‘Cats go undefeated in weekend tournament

Andrew Gordon

The women’s soccer team won the Villanova Classic this weekend in an exciting fashion with both games going into double-overtime. The four-team tournament took place Friday and Saturday at the West Campus Soccer Complex and included visiting teams Lehigh, Nebraska and Virginia Tech.

The Wildcats took their first contest of the tournament against the Virginia Tech Hokies into double overtime thanks to a goal in the 109th minute by senior defender Kelly Eagan. Sophomore forward Katie Ryan opened up the scoring in the game, hitting her second goal of the season from the right side in the 35th minute of regulation. Junior forward Justine Wollner was credited with the assist.

The Hokies tied up the game in the 49th minute on a shot from the middle of the box. The rest of regulation was a stalemate with both teams playing strong defense and Virginia Tech holding the ‘Cats to no corner shots. The first 10-minute overtime period was filled with action as Villanova had its first two corner shots of the game within 30 seconds of one another, providing the Wildcats with two solid scoring opportunities.

The second and final overtime period contained just as much excitement as Virginia Tech put pressure on the Villanova defense, forcing senior keeper Molly Williams to make two crucial saves. After a ‘Nova corner kick with just over a minute left in the overtime period, a scramble created three shots for the Wildcats. The first two were blocked, but the final shot found its mark as Eagan scored her fifth career game-winning goal. Williams’ strong play in net was a vital part of the victory, as she notched eight saves throughout the game.

Villanova took the field again on Sunday afternoon to face Nebraska. This game was evenly matched throughout, leading to a double-overtime tie, thanks to a game-tying goal at the end of regulation by Ryan. The game proved to be fast-paced, as each team accounted for at least 25 attempted shots.

The first 30 minutes of the game were in the Cornhuskers’ favor as they maintained possession for the majority of the first period. In the 32nd minute, the momentum swung in Villanova’s favor as senior midfielder Jessica Carnevale beat the keeper just outside the top of the box to find the back of the net. The second period gave the momentum back to Nebraska quickly as a Cornhusker header tied the game in the 58th minute.

The ‘Huskers took the lead 20 minutes later with a free kick score in the 78th minute. With the clock winding down, the Wildcats erased their one goal deficit, as a shot by Ryan beat the Nebraska goalie with just nine seconds left in the game, sending the game to overtime. Both overtime periods saw seven shots from each team, but solid keeper play kept the game at a stalemate through the full 110 minutes. Williams tied her career high with 12 saves in the contest.

With the draw on its record, Villanova won the tournament as the only undefeated team. Ryan, the only player to score in both games, was named offensive MVP, while Eagan was named defensive MVP. With three players from each team making the all-tournament squad, junior midfielder Rachel Schuyler rounded out the ‘Cats’ selections.

Villanova will return to the field today when they travel to Charlotte for another tough match-up in their non-conference schedule.