DIBIASE: Before we reflect, let’s take a moment to project

Justin Dibiase

As another year of Villanova sports concludes, the staff here at the sports section takes a look at the year in review. The ’06-’07 sports year was a year of excitement, milestones and exceeded expectations. With this year in the rear-view mirror, I would like to take an early look at the sports scene of the ’07-’08 season.

After a 6-5 season that saw Andy Talley’s crew win its last four games, the Villanova football team has a bright outlook for the fall. Red-shirt sophomore Antwon Young will take over quarterbacking duties from possibly NFL-bound Marvin Burroughs. Villanova’s leading rusher and receiver, DeQuese May, is also graduating. Twelve starters and 27 letter-winners will be returning to make a run at the Atlantic 10 championship. The Wildcats will be tested early; however, as they battle ACC football powerhouse Maryland away from home for the first game of the year. Villanova will open its home schedule on Sept. 15 against Maine.

The women’s soccer team will compete in its 25th varsity season in 2007. After a stellar 16-4-2 season and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the team will look to surpass its success. Arguably the nation’s best goalie, all-American first-team Jill Loyden, returns for her senior season with the Wildcats. Accompanying her will be All-Big-East returnees Kelly Eagan, Nikki Maybery and Mellissa Murowski. Their upcoming season has all the makings of something special.

The men’s soccer team will once again be young in the highly competitive Big East Conference next season. The Wildcats should easily improve upon their six-win total of 2006, since the team isn’t losing any players to graduation. Seniors Jason Friel and Mike Del Guercio and sophomore Mike Seamon will lead the team.

After a 13-8 ’06 campaign, the field hockey team will have a tough time in the upcoming season. The ‘Cats will lose Villanova’s record holder for career goals and points in Megan Foster. In addition, they will also lose All-Big East performer Lauren Campanelli due to graduation. Head Coach Joanie Milhous will need to reproduce her 2005 effort when she was named Big East Coach of the Year in order to propel her team to a successful season.

Now, we look at the women’s basketball team. After a rebuilding season in ’06-’07, Head Coach Harry Perretta and his girls will most likely jump out of the cellar of the Big East; they have fresh young talent ready to lead. The only significant loss comes in the form of their leading scorer Jackie Adamshick, who is graduating. Much of the scoring load will have to be shouldered by current sophomore Lisa Karcic. The ‘Cats have one of the best crops of young players in the Big East and should continue to improve as their players mature.

Last, but certainly not least, we take a look at the men’s basketball team. It will be difficult to match the leadership of the graduating seniors, Curtis Sumpter, Will Sheridan and Mike Nardi. However, the ’07-’08 team will not be short on talent. Jay Wright’s crew will usher in New Jersey phenom freshmen Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher. Only two years after the departure of three NBA-bound stars, Wildcat basketball will feel the dawn of a new era. The four-year stalwart guards of Randy Foye, Mike Nardi and Allan Ray are gone. Stokes and Fisher, along with Big East Rookie of the Year Scottie Reynolds, will be looking to do the old guard one better and advance Villanova into its first Final Four since the 1985 season. To go along with the new triple threat, ‘Nova will boast an athletic, hard-working supporting cast. With many Big East teams losing key contributors, the conference may be Villanova’s for the taking. ‘Nova’s Big East competition will come in the form of Syracuse, Marquette, Pittsburgh and possibly even Georgetown.

The new year will also usher in the new basketball practice facility and student fitness center adjacent to the Pavilion. The new facility will give potential recruits from both the women’s and men’s basketball teams a better impression than in previous years when they were presented with Jake Nevin Fieldhouse and St. Mary’s gym.

It will be a long summer of training for the players and waiting for the fans before the fall semester rolls around, but when it arrives, Villanova athletics will be in full force. From the gridiron to the goals, the ’07-’08 Villanova varsity athletic season is shaping up to be something special.

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Justin DiBiase is a sophomore civil engineering major from Franklinville, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected]