Loyden, Koch earn Big East accolades

Anne Boyd

During a week that evoked both celebration and disappontment for the women’s soccer team, junior goaltender Jillian Loyden was named the Big East’s Goalkeeper of the Year at the conference’s annual award’s banquet on Nov. 3. She is only the second goalkeeper in Villanova history to earn the presigious conference award.

The New Jersey native started in 18 of the 19 games for Villanova, posting a .810 save percentage and a 1.09 goals-against average. Her strength in goal this season also landed her a place on the All-Big East first team.

“It is a terrific honor for Jillian to win one of the major conference awards,” head coach Ann Clifton told Villanova.com. “She sets herself apart with an incredible work ethic and quest for perfection, and I think that she will view this award as a stepping stone to leaving a strong legacy at Villanova.”

Senior defender Laura Koch was also named to the All-Big East second team. In addition to being recognized by the Big East, Koch was also featured in the Nov. 3 edition of The Camden Courier Post.

Out of her 86 career games, Koch started in 74 of them. A consistenly solid player througout her four years at Villanova, she led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament in the past three seasons. Last year she was named third team All-Big East and the Most Oustanding Defensive Player at the Big East Conference tournament.

Loyden finishes her collegiate career with one goal, six assists and eight points.

Koch and Loyden combined to create a strong defense for Villanova. The Wildcats only allowed an average of 12.5 shots per game and recorded seven shutouts for the season. Six of these seven shutouts came while Loyden was in goal.

Despite the team’s outstanding record (10-5-4, 6-1-3 Big East) and second place divisional finish, Villanova was kept out of the 64 teams selected for the 2005 NCAA Championship. It will be the first time since 2001 that the team will not be participating in the tournament.

“The team is disappointed that we did not receive an at-large bid, but we understand why the decisions were made the way they were,” Clifton said on Monday after the announcement was made.

This decision marks the end of the careers for four of the team’s girls.

Senior midfielder Kelly Breslin and defenders Kristin Anderson and Koch have helped the ‘Cats develop into the successful team it is today. Graduate student Patricia Misciagna has played with the team for five years. Over her career at Villanova, she has a personal record of 66-24-15 and is the only active player to be a part of all four NCAA Tournament teams.