‘Cats retain perfect record with tie

Kaitlin Santana

The Villanova women’s soccer team (10-0-1, 2-0-1 Big East) saw its record-setting winning streak extended and then taken away this past weekend; however the squad’s unbeaten run remains alive. After Sunday’s tying effort against Rutgers (7-1-1, 2-0-1 Big East), the team lengthened their unbeaten streak to 11, tying the school record set four years ago when the 2002 squad went 9-0-2 through their first 11 games.

Villanova’s first Big East match of the weekend came Friday afternoon at home in the West Campus Soccer Complex against the Seton Hall Pirates (4-5, 0-2 Big East). Both teams played an even game, which went over an hour and 45 minutes without a goal. The eleventh corner kick opportunity of the game for Villanova sparked the only offensive action of the match during the second overtime period. Kayce Blandford took the kick, and the ball found freshman Kelly Eagan in the box. Eagan’s shot careened off a Seton Hall defenseman, but Eagan found her own rebound and netted the ball for her second goal of the season in the 107th minute of play.

She was rewarded for her spectacular play both defensively and offensively by being named to the Big East’s weekly honor roll. The Wildcats have only scored five game winning goals during or preceding double overtime in the 23 years of the program’s existence, though Friday’s victory is the second double overtime win in 12 days for the 2006 squad. Jillian Loyden made five saves in her sixth solo shutout of the season, improving her goals against average to 0.10.

Villanova’s second challenge of the weekend came in an away game against their Big East rival Rutgers. The winner of the game would sit atop the Big East rankings entering this week. The game also sported the two reigning Big East Goalkeepers of the Week, Loyden, along with Rutgers keeper, Erin Guthrie, sister of Villanova’s Kaley Guthrie. The match saw several streaks come to a close, including Villanova’s ten-game winning bout.

The ‘Cats got the scoring going first, as they have in all 11 games this season. Stacia Hartung carried the ball up through the midfield and found Lindsey Finnegan. Finnegan blasted a high ball into the top of the goal, giving ‘Nova the 1-0 advantage 22 minutes into the game.

While Finnegan’s goal ended a Rutgers defensive scoreless streak of over 450 minutes, ‘Nova’s own run of nearly 770 minutes without allowing a goal was ended by the Scarlet Knights in the second half. The last time the ‘Cats allowed a goal was in their third game of the season on Aug. 29 against George Washington.

Loyden’s shutout streak also came to a close during Sunday’s match. Her stretch of 736:24 minutes without letting a ball past her is the fifteenth longest shutout streak in Division I women’s soccer history. She made four saves during the game, and allowed just her second goal of the season.