FH: ‘Cats pull off upset at No. 17 Rutgers

Alex Gallucci

The Wildcat field hockey team moved to 7-1 on Sept. 19 in its first Big East Conference matchup against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights (6-1), currently ranked No. 17 in the STX/NFHCA Division I Coaches’ Poll, lost 3-1 after a strong second-half offensive comeback by the Wildcats.

The Scarlet Knights took an early lead in the game, putting one in the net in the seventh minute. Throughout the first half, it looked as though Rutgers would maintain its lead, holding Villanova to just one shot on goal, compared to the Scarlet Knights’ seven. Just before the half, senior co-captain Sam Coveleski made an impressive defensive save that held the Rutgers lead at one.

Redshirt freshman Abby Sordoni began the Villanova turnaround 41 minutes into the game when she capitalized on a loose ball to tie the game at 1-1 and record her third goal this season.

“The thing about Abby’s goal was that everybody had a part in getting it up there,” Coveleski said. “We knew we were all on the board, all playing together, all ready to win the game.”

The Villanova defense successfully kept the Scarlet Knights scoreless in the second half. Sophomore Dana Ramsden’s penalty shot allowed Villanova to take its first lead 54 minutes into the game. With seven goals so far this season, Ramsden continues to lead the team’s offensive force.

With less than two minutes remaining, Ramsden’s assist to junior Emily Donaldson made it a 3-1 Villanova lead, leaving Rutgers no hope for a last-minute comeback. Donaldson’s goal ended the offensive action on both sides, and the Wildcats walked away with a decisive 3-1 victory.

As usual, sophomore goalkeeper Maura McCormick was a key player in the win, as she tied her season-high record of eight saves in the game. McCormick has recorded 36 saves in eight games, giving her an impressive goals against average of .810.

McCormick’s play in the 3-1 victory over the Knights rivaled any player in the conference. As a result of her performance in last Friday’s game, the sophomore was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.

Many referred to the Wildcats’ win as an upset, but Coveleski disagreed.

“I wouldn’t call our game an upset against Rutgers,” she said. “Those predictions were based on last year’s team, and we are miles away and ahead from last year. The game was definitely the best we’ve played so far this season and was the first real showing of just how much talent and athleticism is packed in our team.”

Villanova now has two games at home after their game in New Jersey. They took on the University of Pennsylvania yesterday before taking on Lehigh Sunday at 1 p.m.