‘Cats prep for Big East

Kaitlin Santanna

With the season almost halfway complete, the Villanova women’s soccer team starts a busy September schedule off strong. With a 3-2-1 record already in the month, the ‘Cats continue to win important matches.

The team started out with a hard fought loss to Lehigh at home Sept. 2, with the only goal in the game coming in the 77th minute. It was the first game of the season in which the ‘Cats failed to score. Despite this, Villanova outshot Lehigh 12 to 7, with sophomore midfielder Stacia Hartung leading the team in shots with four. Junior goaltender Jillian Loyden made four saves during the game.

After going scoreless against the Mountain Hawks, they quickly bounced back with a 7-1 victory over Vermont at home on Sept. 4. Sophomore forward Nikki Mabery led the team in scoring netting her first two goals of the season. The Wildcats scored three times in a 5:13 span, including Nicole Coia’s first collegiate goal. Goalkeeper Jamie Doehler made her first collegiate start and completed the game with two saves. The triumph also marked head coach Ann Clifton’s 100th career win.

The blowout against the Catamounts put the ball in motion for the young Wildcat team.

Momentum certainly was needed going into the competitive Maryland/Adidas Classic hosted by the University of Maryland. Villanova started the contest off well, beating the hosting Maryland team 2-0. Senior forward Lindsey Finnegan scored both goals in the game. Loyden posted her second shutout of the season making six saves. Despite a late game rally, the ‘Cats’ final game of the Classic was a 2-1 loss against Santa Barbara. Villanova’s lone goal came from junior Megan Farmer with only 34 seconds left in the game.

The Wildcats finished the tournament second overall. Senior defenders Kristin Anderson and Laura Koch, along with Finnegan, were selected for the All-Tournament Team for their play over the weekend.

The soccer team moved from one tournament to another the following weekend. They competed in the Adidas/Hypertherm Classic held by Dartmouth Collage on September 16-18. Villanova started the tournament off on Friday with a 1-1 tie against Arizona State. Four minutes into the second half sophomore midfielder Kaley Guthrie posted the first goal in the game for the Wildcats. This lead was kept through much of regulation. Loyden held off Arizona State until the 84th minute, and made six saves in the game.

Villanova played its final non-conference game against Minnesota to finish out the Hypertherm Classic. Valerie Grow brought the Wildcats (4-3-2) to a 1-0 victory by scoring her fourth career goal. Despite a commanding shot advantage, the game remained scoreless until the 75th minute.

After playing Seton Hall away on Friday, the Wildcats will return home after playing five straight games on the road. They play Rutgers on Sunday at 1 p.m.