Men’s soccer kicks into high gear

Dan Barone

The Villanova men’s soccer team has avoided the slow start that hurt them last season with a victory and a tie during the past week.

After playing to a scoreless tie with #17 Fairleigh Dickinson last week, the ‘Cats were able to hold off Penn with a 3-1 victory this past Sunday.

The game against Penn was controlled by Villanova from the 2:07 mark when freshman Danny DeMasters scored his first career goal off of a corner kick from senior Jonathan Lopuski. Another goal was added by freshman Matt Sleece at 20:59 to give the ‘Cats a comfortable early advantage.

After a penalty kick was surrendered before halftime, the lead was trimmed to 2-1.

A third freshman for ‘Nova stepped up in the second half though, as Mike DelGuercio was assisted by DeMasters with just four minutes remaining in extra time to finalize a 3-1 victory.

The game was a good sign for both the young goal scorers and the veteran defense. Tony Watkins, along with Chris Edgar and Pat Gallagher are all returning starters in the back who were a huge part of the team’s successes last season.

“It has been a good start to the season,” Wakins said. “The game against Fairleigh Dickinson showed people that we’re not afraid of anyone this season.”

The team played right in stride with Fairleigh last week, earning a tie in a very tough home opener.

Craig Bald picked up right where he left off the previous season, collecting six saves in net for Villanova. Bald and the defense will be key to the team’s success this year as they look for a couple of players to emerge as consistent scorers.

This season’s expectations are high following the team’s best season in about ten years. A good start was necessary, as the schedule this season is tougher than usual.

In addition to the opener, the ‘Cats must take on powerhouses Maryland and Penn State in their out of conference schedule. They also have their usual tough games against Notre Dame, Boston College, St. John’s and Seton Hall, all of whom are ranked in the preseason top 25.

‘Nova will have to do what they did last season by getting a few quality wins and using their schedule to get themselves back in the top 25.

After two home games, Villanova plays its next three matches on the road against LaSalle, Providence and Boston College, respectively.

The Wildcats’ next home game will be played on Wednesday, Sept. 22 against Rutgers.