Wildcats get ready to dance

Joe Groglio

Words alone cannot capture the emotion of awaiting selection into the NCAA tournament. For teams like Villanova, who did not receive an automatic bid, the tension is through the roof as they sit and wait for that phone call.

That call finally came last night, as head coach Ann Clifton and her Wildcats will return to the dance once more, their forth trip in a row.

The ‘Cats will face off against Yale in the first round, a team they have much tournament history with. Senior co-captain Laura Johnson remembers, “They knocked us out in penalty kicks my sophomore year [two years ago].  I am excited because our team has grown so much in those two years so we should be able to do better.” If they were able to defeat Yale, the probable next opponent would be Princeton, another Ivy League school that the ‘Cats have history with, as they defeated the ‘Cats earlier this year in the Upenn Tournament.

On Friday night in Storrs, Conn., the ‘Cats came close to getting a shot to play for an automatic bid in the tournament. In the Big East Tournament semi final game, ‘Nova was defeated by UConn, the game being decided on penalty kicks. After allowing an early goal, the team went in to the half down 1-0. But they came roaring back, tying the game in the 61st minute on freshman Mellissa Murowski’s first college goal. It came when senior Regina Villari’s shot was deflected by UConn to All-American Michelle Biehl, who dished to Murowski for the score.

After a brilliant defensive showing by both sides, the game went in to overtime. The first overtime once again was a stalemate, but the second period brought a lot of excitement. Laura Johnson broke away to give herself a one on one with goalie Megan Jesse, but her shot was stopped by Jesse, one of eight saves on the night for her. Later on in the period, Jillian Loyden made a miraculous save of her own, stopping Uconn forward Jessica Gjertsten.

And so the game came to penalty kicks, always an exciting way to determine a games outcome. Stacia Hartung was able to deliver for the ‘Cats after two Uconn goals, but Jennifer Sullivan sealed the deal with the decisive third goal.

So the ‘Cats will travel to Princeton, to take on Yale at 5 p.m. It will surely be a battle for the ages, as two solid teams square off for the chance at a title. That is the great thing about the NCAA tournament, any one of the 64 teams has a shot at winning it all. We wish the girls good luck, and hopefully Villanova will be the ones holding up that trophy in the end.