Women’s soccer moves to ten wins

Joe Groglio

In Villanova sports history, upsets have become a common occurrence over the years, which is why it was no surprise when the women’s soccer team came so close to knocking off Notre Dame two weeks ago, a team ranked first in the nation.

Although they were unable to pull off the win, the Wildcats showed their toughness, resilience and ability to compete with the best in the country. The hard-fought game also gave the ‘Cats fuel for their next game against Providence.

On the following Sunday, Villanova clicked on all cylinders in the 2-0 victory over the Friars, as the tough defense was complemented by a consistent offensive effort. Senior co-captain Laura Johnson was the rock that drove this offense, as she tallied a goal and an assist. Johnson is only one assist away from tying the all-time Villanova assist record, held by Cathy Ford from the class of ’85.

It all started in the 15th minute, as defensive standout Laura Koch fed Johnson with a long pass, which was redirected to freshman Stacia Hartung for the team’s first goal. Just two minutes later, they struck again, as Kristen Anderson fed freshman Kaley Guthrie for a header, which was headed on the rebound by Johnson for another goal.

The defense was solid as always, as the ‘Cats outshot the Friars 23-3 en route to the shutout. Standout goalie Jillian Loyden only needed to record one save, as Koch, Michelle Biehl and Kayce Blandford led the defensive effort.

Next up for the Wildcats was Georgetown on Oct. 15. The teams were forced to play in the rain, which created terrible field conditions. Once again Johnson led the offense, as she notched a first half goal.

Unfortunately, Villanova was not able to maintain the lead after Georgetown’s Chrissy Skogen tied the game with a header. The second half was dominated by both defenses, and after Kelly Breslin’s shot went just wide of the goal, the teams headed into overtime.

The two overtime periods were purely dominated by Villanova, but a header by Nikki Maery hit off the crossbar in the first overtime, and Hartung just missed a shot high in the second period. Eventually, the game was resolved in a 1-1 tie.

The next game for Villanova was an emotional one, as they faced Connecticut last Sunday for Senior Day. Being the final home game of their careers, seniors Biehl, Laura Johnson, Patricia Misciagna, Erica Stewert and Regina Villari were honored in a ceremony before the game.

“It is hard to summarize four years of hard work into one day, but the coaches and our fellow teammates made it a great day,” Johnson said.

Although they were shutout by the Huskies, 3-0, the ‘Cats now sit at 10-5-1, with two games remaining on the schedule. If they can defeat Pittsburg and Youngstown State this week, they will likely face Boston College in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Whether or not Villanova qualifies for the NCAA tournament will be determined by the outcome of that game.

If the talented team can find the magic they showed against Notre Dame, then they will surely be a force to be reckoned with in the postseason.