‘Cats pummel Vermont, 7-1

Courtney Scrib

Last Sunday the women’s soccer team finally breathed a sigh of relief.

In an explosive 7-1 win over Vermont, the Wildcats (2-2-1) more than doubled their season goal totals. Prior to Sunday afternoon’s victory, the team had scored just three goals in its first four games.

“You can definitely say that the monkey is off our back, and hopefully he ran away for good,” head coach Ann Clifton said following the match. “We are too good a team to be stopped the way we were in the first four games.”

Leading the way for Villanova was Nikki Mabery, who scored her first two goals of the season. The sophomore forward’s first goal, which opened the match’s scoring and came off an assist from classmate Nicole Coia in the 33rd minute of the game, was the first goal the Wildcats had scored since playing Georgetown on Aug. 31.

“I had a hard time in the first four games with coming up empty and it was frustrating,” Mabery, who took a game-high nine shots, said. “But you just have to know that something is going to have to go right for you, and with hard work, it all fell into place for us against Vermont.”

For red shirt freshman goalie Jamie Doehler, Sunday’s game was especially gratifying as it was both her first career victory, as well as her first collegiate appearance. In addition to Doehler, Coia also recorded a personal milestone after scoring her first collegiate goal at the beginning of the second half.

“We plan to use the game against Vermont as a building block to continue to build upon,” Mabery added. “With continuous hard work, we will be able to get this done.”

Coming off a 1-0 loss to Lehigh and determined to break out of their offensive slump, the Wildcats stormed the field with intensity and never let up against the Catamounts.

After scoring two goals in the first half, Villanova returned in the second period with another dominating performance, out shooting Vermont 22-1 and connecting on five shots. By the end of the game, Villanova had outshot its opponent, 36-6.

In addition, the team’s seven goals were the most goals scored by Villanova since an 11-0 victory over Howard on Oct. 27, 2002.

However, despite its success against Vermont, both Clifton and the players remain committed to working every day to make improvements.

“We are still a young team on the field,” Clifton said. “Even with a game like the one today, the problems we had in our earlier games might still be there to some degree.”

This weekend the Wildcats face one of their biggest challenges at the prestigious Maryland/adidas Classic. In addition to Villanova and Maryland, Rutgers and UC Santa Barbara are also schedule to participate.

Heading into the tournament, Clifton, who earned her 100th career victory as a coach in Sunday’s game, expects the competition to be tough.

Nevertheless, she is confident that as long as the Wildcats continue to work hard and play with the same relentless intensity, they will be the team to beat.

“There isn’t any other group of players I would want to take into Maryland than the group that I have now,” Clifton said.