MSOC: Wildcats drop road contest at DePaul

Andrew Gordon

The men’s soccer team traveled to Chicago to face the DePaul Blue Demons in their final regular-season game on Nov. 1. In what proved to be a defensive struggle, the Blue Demons prevailed, winning 1-0, when junior Peter Sterbenz found the back of the net in the closing minutes of overtime.

Defense was the key, as the Wildcats and the Blue Demons played an intense game in front of a crowd of nearly 400 at the DePaul Soccer Complex. Scoring chances were few and far between, with only five shots on goal in the first half between the two squads.

After a stalemate in the first half, DePaul was firing on all cylinders in the second half. However, the Villanova defense established itself as a stingy unit by fending off the Blue Demon assault for all of regulation and most of the overtime period. The ‘Cats were outshot 9-to-2 in the second half as DePaul tried to wear down the staunch defense, recording a total of 14 corner kicks. Villanova countered with a few scoring opportunities but were also unable to score during regulation. Sophomore Chris Christian and junior scoring leader Mike Seamon each had a shot on goal, while the consistent senior midfielder Farris Fakhoury notched two shots on the Blue Demon keeper.

The deciding tally came as a result of an intense skirmish for possession. With just four minutes left in the first extra session, the ‘Cats found themselves on their heels as DePaul had kicked the ball deep into Villanova territory. The Blue Demons gained control after this battle for possession, and senior John Kornfeld found Sterbenz with a cross to the far post. Sterbenz’s header made its way into the net despite a last-second attempt from Villanova freshman goalie Chris Bresnahan to keep the match scoreless. Bresnahan finished the day with six saves.

With this loss, the Wildcats concluded regular-season play with seven wins, nine losses and two draws on the year. The ‘Cats scored 14 goals this season while giving up 15 to opponents.

This overtime game was the sixth of its kind this season for the Wildcats. Despite these many extended games, the Wildcats have maintained a 4-5-2 Big East record, good enough to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the second consecutive year. They hope to better their postseason results from last year, when they lost their first game to West Virginia. Head Coach Tom Carlin must now prepare his team for postseason play, which began this week. Villanova played at Providence in the first round of the playoffs yesterday at 2 p.m.