Women’s soccer kicks off season

Paul Martucci

As the clock approached the end of regulation, it appeared as though the Women Wildcats Soccer team was on the verge of starting the season at 1-2, having lost two consecutive one-goal decisions. The team, however, had something else in mind.

With just over 30 seconds remaining in regulation, senior forward and co-captain Lindsey Finnegan blasted a shot that deflected off the crossbar but junior forward Megan Farmer rebounded the errant shot and knocked it in the net with only 25 seconds remaining, tying the game at one goal a piece. Two scoreless overtime periods ended the game as a tie.

This tie comes just three days after a difficult 2-1 loss to Philly rival St. Joseph’s, a game in which St. Joseph’s netted two first half goals to build up a lead they would never look back from.

The loss was only the Villanova Women’s Soccer team’s second loss to a Philly opponent. Its combined record against La Salle, Penn, St. Joseph’s and Temple is 32-2-4.

This 2005 season, which started on Friday, August 26 with a 1-0 win over La Salle, marks Ann Clifton’s ninth season as head coach of the Villanova Women’s Soccer team. In her first eight years, she has posted an impressive 98-52-17 record, which includes four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and one Big East championship.

Regarding her aspirations for this season, Clifton told Villanova.com, “I am very confident in this team’s ability to once again be ranked in the Top 25 and to be one of the 64 teams that gets to the NCAA Tournament.”

Unique to this year’s squad, however, is the team’s captains. Toward the end of the last term, Clifton decided to name five girls as captains and have them share the responsibilities.

“It is interesting to have five captains because that is obviously a larger number,” Clifton told Villanova.com.

“However, all five of the captains bring something completely different to the table. They all lead in different ways. We are a young team and a large group so it is important for all of these young ladies to be on the right page at all times…I think the team is very confident in the structure of our leadership.”

The team’s five captains are senior forward Lindsey Finnegan, senior defender Kristin Anderson, senior defender Laura Koch, senior defender Patricia Misciagna and junior goalie Jillian Loyden.

Finnegan returns to the field this year after missing a significant part of her junior campaign in the 2004 season. In her sophomore year, Finnegan emerged as the team’s leading offensive threat with eight goals and 21 points.

“Lindsey [Finnegan] is a creative player and constant scoring threat,” Clifton told Villanova.com. “She has been working hard to recover from her injury, and the signs are there that she is getting back to top form.”

Misciagna also experienced a significant blow when, in the second game of the 2004 season, she suffered a season-ending injury. Misciagna’s return to the field this year brings an instant boost of experience to the team.

“I am ecstatic to have Patricia back for another year,” Clifton told Villanova.com. “She is a fifth-year senior who has been to four straight NCAA Tournaments, and has so much experience that she can add to the team.”

Loydon, the only junior in the team’s five captain squad, is coming off a remarkable sophomore season. She allowed just 15 goals in the 22 games she started last year as a sophomore while posting a 0.72 goals-against average.

“It is vital for any team to have a great leader in goal, and Jillian [Loyden] is that leader for us,” Clifton told Villanova.com.

“She runs the defense both physically and verbally on the field, and she is capable of improving on the tremendous season she had last year.”

Senior defenders Anderson and Koch round out the captains. Although Loyden runs the defense from the goalie position, these two women lead the defense.

“Laura and Kristin are the defensive leaders of our team, and I am very excited about what they can do this season,” Clifton told Villanova.com.

“They are best friends but lead in such different ways. They are both very effective in the styles of leadership they use.”

Together, these five Villanovans, under the leadership of Ann Clifton, will seek to lead this year’s Women’s Soccer team to another successful campaign.

“Our roster is filled with players, both among the returnees and the newcomers, that have a tremendous amount of experience and know how to get the job done,” Clifton told Villanova.com.

“I think this year’s team has a chance to be as good as or better than any team that has worn the Villanova uniform.”