FH: ‘Cats edged in OT thriller



Allison Venella

Over the summer, Big East preseason polls ranked the field hockey team at No. 6. Coming off a competitive ’06 season, the team looks forward to improving its record.

In an effort to contribute to a winning season, Coach Joanie Milhous recruited eight freshmen. The freshmen are set to have an immediate impact on the already talented roster.

One of the four seniors, Megan Ryan, gave some insight into the team’s outlook.

“We are excited for this season,” Ryan said. “We have a lot of great competition lined up, which will offer our team great opportunities.”

Senior captain Stephanie Campbell and junior forward Allison Boris were both selected to the Preseason All-Big East Team. These two standout players were both named to the All-Big East second team last year and are expected to have a huge impact on the field.

Boris, who finished last season as the team’s second leading scorer after netting 14 goals with nine assists, is expected to lead the offensive line this year with leadership and scoring after the team graduated its top scorer. Campbell is expected to lead the defensive attack. Her leadership will be a constant presence as she finished last season with three goals and nine assists.

This past Saturday, the team opened up its season with a preseason game against Ball State. In a hard fought game, the ‘Cats battled but came up short, losing in overtime, 3-2. Through the heat and sweat, the players battled but were unable to score goals late in the game to seal the deal. Freshmen Meredith Sabatini and Lauren Wuzzardo scored the team’s two goals.

The offense was led by Wuzzardo and Sabatini, along with Campbell, who assisted Wuzzardo with a pass from the top of the circle off a Ball State penalty. Goalkeeper Maura McCormick, who battled off the sticks of the Ball State Cardinals, led the defense.

Even though Villanova out-shot Ball State and battled hard to take the lead before the end of regulation, time ran out with the score tied 2-2, sending the game into overtime. With each team looking for the game-winning goal, the ‘Cats got right to work creating scoring opportunities early on; however, despite the defensive efforts, Ball State scored first, giving the ‘Cats their first loss of the season.

“It was a disappointing way to open the season,” Ryan said. “But as a team, we have made a commitment to learn from the loss against Ball State and look toward our next game.”

Villanova field hockey will look forward to postseason play, as the players aim for the 2007 Big East Tournament at Syracuse University in November.

Two key stretches during the season could determine the fate of the field hockey squad this season. During September, the ‘Cats will hit the road for six straight games away from home, including matchups against local rival Drexel and Big East foes Connecticut and Rutgers.

October will be much kinder to the Wildcats, with four straight games at Villanova Stadium. Georgetown, Louisville, Providence and St. Joseph’s will visit ‘Nova’s campus during the crucial homestand.

Next on the schedule for Villanova is the Siena Saints. The game is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. in Villanova Stadium.