Wildcats enjoy early success

Paul Martucci

After reaching 3-0 for the first time since 1985, the Villanova field hockey team suffered a 3-1 loss to Penn State.

In spite of this blemish, the team immediately rebounded with a 2-1 win at Temple and a 2-0 win against West Chester.

At 5-1, the Wildcats have experienced unprecedented success. Hard fought wins against quality opponents, in combination with junior goalkeeper Erin Scott’s 1.17 goals per game average and junior scoring leader Megan Foster’s seven goals have carried this team to its early success.

“Megan Foster is an incredible player who has amazing ball handling skills and great game sense,” head coach Joanie Q. Milhous said.  “She knows how to finish.  She has been so successful because she is always in the right spot and has great discipline to make sure she finishes off her plays with either a goal or an assist.”

In addition to the standout athletes, the field hockey ‘Cats have relied on the depth and talent of the entire team throughout the season.

“The constant effort this team has played with and practiced with has definitely contributed to the strong start,” senior co-captain Rory Rogers said. “The team always gives 100 percent and our skill has definitely improved from my freshman year to today.”

In spite of the team’s successful start, last week’s 3-1 loss challenged the Wildcats to rebound from the setback and continue the success they had found in the previous game.

“I was disappointed by our play in the Penn State game,” Milhous said. “I knew we had much better hockey in us than we displayed.  The team knew it too. The team was frustrated by their play on Friday night; we spoke about it and how to respond for Temple.”

Against Temple, the ‘Cats rebounded. With two goals, junior Megan Foster led Villanova to an important 2-1 victory.

“The team did an amazing job in sticking with our game plan and getting back to playing our game,” Milhous said. “Our midfield looked great against Temple and our passing game was back.  Sam Coveleski played really well in the midfield, Erin Scott looked strong in goal and Natalie Balthrop also had a great game in our backfield.”

The field hockey women followed up the victory against Temple with a home shutout, 2-0, over West Chester. The shutout marked Scott’s first shutout of the season and fourth of her career. Overall, the team played another solid game.

“Today, our teamwork was exceptional,” Rogers said. “Our passing was strong, and we never gave up on a single ball all game.”

The Wildcats will look to build on this early season momentum on Saturday against Big East rival UConn at Storrs, Ct. Connecticut is ranked 11th in the nation and hails as the defending Big East Field Hockey Champion.

“We haven’t beaten UConn in several years,” Rogers said. “But we’re much stronger than they’ve seen before from us.”

“We just need to think positive and not be scared, because we have the potential and the drive to get the job done.”