Whalen, ‘Cats prepare for Friars

Carolyn Brown

The fall season is winding down as conference play comes to an end. The Big East Tournament is finally here. A season of hard work, tough losses and huge wins has all come down to one final tournament that will decide for the field hockey team whether its season will continue.

Ending the regular season with a record of 13-7 (4-2 Big East) with a tough loss against Bucknell and a huge win against Georgetown, the team goes into the tournament as the No. 3 seed.

The last non-conference game of the season did not end as the ‘Cats planned. As ‘Nova out-shot Bucknell 13-6, no one would have thought that a score of 2-0 could put a win in the books for Bucknell. Ending the first half of the game down 1-0, Villanova came out in the second half with strong hopes for offense.

“We had a hard time finishing in the Bucknell game,” senior Alex Whalen said. “We had a ton of opportunities to score but we just didn’t capitalize. Finishing is going to be our focus in preparing for the Big East tournament.”

In the second half, Villanova out-shot Bucknell 7-2, but an insurance goal in the second half for the Bison held the Villanova offense to its first shutout in 19 games. Whalen had two saves on the game, while senior Megan Foster had seven shots on goal to the Bison’s six.

“We have really built up our confidence since the Providence game, so we are really glad to have built that back up even though we lost here,” Whalen said. “We had lost some confidence due to tough losses and some tight games, and we really needed a fresh start. We also had been having a lot of defensive breakdowns, so we switched up the defense and concentrated on building a midfield. After these changes, we started playing a lot better and our confidence built itself up.”

Already earning a spot in the Big East Tournament but not knowing whether they would be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed, the ‘Cats traveled to Georgetown to play their last conference game of the season.

In the first half, Villanova showed intensity. Strong on offense and defense, the field hockey team was able to score two goals, the only goals they needed to sweep past Georgetown and record another win.

Junior Catherine Somits scored the first goal of the game only 6:30 into the first half off of an assist from Foster. Foster then scored a goal of her own in the 18th minute raising the score to 2-0 which ultimately would hold off the Hoyas. The offense out-shot the Hoyas 19-4 and recorded their third shutout of the season.

Defense was a huge part of this game as Whalen made three saves, two of which were huge scoring opportunities for Georgetown.

“Coming up with a win against Georgetown was crucial for us because it sets the tone for the Big East Tournament,” Whalen said. “The game set us up in a good position in the Big East Tournament as the No. 3 seed facing Providence, and we couldn’t be happier about that.”

The Wildcats end their regular season just two wins shy of tying the single-season record that was set last season.

‘Nova will face the Providence Friars in the first round of the Big East Tournament. The ‘Cats are looking to come in strong after losing to Providence in conference play, 3-1. The two teams faced off in Providence just last weekend.

“We have been preparing for the Big East Tournament already, scouting Providence on film,” Whalen said. “We are picking apart their game so we can be prepared on how to play them. We are happy that we are getting another opportunity to play them, and we are going to take full advantage of our preparation time and work on every part of our game so that we are ready to play Providence this time around.”