MSOC: ‘Nova’s defense center stage

Michael Zipf

Heading into its first Big East game of the season against West Virginia, the men’s soccer team looked to expand upon its recent two-game win streak. Traveling to Morgantown hoping to avenge last season’s Big East quarterfinal loss to the Mountaineers, the team delivered a highly energized performance. Unlike last season’s 2-0 defeat, the Villanova defense demonstrated stout and stalwart play, holding West Virginia scoreless. Freshman goaltender Chris Bresnahan recorded his third shutout of the season, with the Wildcats and Mountaineers ending in a scoreless tie after two overtime periods.

Entering the matchup, Head Coach Tom Carlin tried to develop a strategy that would capitalize on West Virginia’s inexperience and injuries. Villanova generated several scoring opportunities during the course of the matchup. However, West Virginia goalie Zach Johnson and the rest of the defense rose to the challenge, thwarting all of the Wildcat’s chances.

“You have to give a lot of credit to West Virginia,” Carlin said in a recent interview with “They have a young team that’s had some injuries, but they have a lot of talent, and they pushed us.”

Villanova’s best scoring opportunity occurred during the second overtime when senior Danny Demasters almost connected on a blast from the 35-yard line that Johnson barely knocked away.

Overall, Villanova’s ball movement has steadily progressed throughout the course of the season.

“I think we are a team that is still somewhat finding ourselves and our style of play,” senior midfielder Miles Harrison said. “We are still growing as a team and are starting to move the ball very well as a team. In the last two games, our ball movement and off-the-ball movement has been much better, and it has shown in the way we have played. We just need to improve on finishing our chances.”

After a scoreless affair with the Mountaineers, the Wildcats traveled to Pittsburgh to face an up-and-coming Panthers team that entered the Sept. 21 game with a 5-1-1 record. Just like the previous game against Georgetown, it took 100 minutes for either team to score. Villanova took advantage of a free kick outside the box to score the only goal of the game. Adam Brazitis blasted in a shot right bast the Pitt defender.

Again the Villanova defense rose to the occasion, holding the Panthers scoreless, extending their opponents scoring draught to 414 minutes. The Wildcats prevailed 1-0 in double overtime.

Brazitis was honored Monday by both the Big East and Philly Soccer 7 for his late-game heroics. The senior was named Big East Defensive Player of the Week and Soccer Seven’s Co-Player of the Week.

The team continues Big East action at home this weekend, taking on Seton Hall tomorrow at 4 p.m. and Georgetown on Sunday at 3 p.m.