Last season the men’s soccer team used an early season victory over the No. 1-ranked Duke Blue Devils to propel the team to an appearance in the Big East playoffs after a two-year hiatus. The ‘Cats’ 3-2 victory on Oct. 19 over the No. 10-ranked Louisville Cardinals could provide a similar effect.
After losing to a mediocre Lafayette team in their previous matchup, the Wildcats entered their matchup against Big East-rival Louisville searching for answers. Although the Cardinals outshot them 16-5, the ‘Cats capitalized on their scoring opportunities. The Wildcats focused on ball movement and finishing around the net in the practices leading up to the game. Their hard work paid dividends, as the team scored on 60 percent of its shots on goal. Villanova received an early boost from senior midfielder Farris Fakhoury when he connected with a cross from junior midfielder Mike Seamon, who led the team in points last season. Villanova’s 1-0 lead was short lived, as the Cardinals answered in the 23rd minute of the matchup with a goal from junior forward Freddie Braun. The teams entered halftime locked in a 1-1 tie.
The Wildcats quickly garnered momentum in the opening minutes of the second half when a foul in the penalty box awarded Villanova their first penalty kick of the ’08 campaign. Senior midfielder and captain Joe Taylor gave Villanova a 2-1 lead after he converted the penalty kick for his first goal of the ’08 season. Five minutes later Seamon extended the Wildcat’s advantage when he deftly placed a shot past Louisville goaltender Andre Boudreaux to give Villanova a 3-1 led. Seamon’s goal illustrated a key difference in the team’s performance from their previous game.
“The main difference in the game against Lousiville and the game against Lafayette was that in the Louisville game we created chances and we were able capitalize on them,” senior Miles Harrison said. “We continued to stick to our game plan and continued to fight even when they were able to tie the game.”
Louisville closed the gap to one goal when freshman forward Colin Rolfe’s shot was deflected past Villanova goaltender Chris Bresnahan. However this was as close as the Cardinals would get, as Villanova demonstrated stalwart defense for the rest of the match to preserve the victory and upset of a ranked opponent.
“This victory was very important to us because we really needed to get back on a winning track after some tough losses during our last few games,” Harrison said. “Also, it was a Big East game, so we needed to get the three points to help us toward getting into the Big East Playoffs.”
The Wildcats avenged their disappointing loss of two years ago and captured an important Big East victory on the road in a tough enviornment.