Women advance to semifinals after upsetting UConn 1-0

Lauren Ferrara

Villanova’s women’s soccer team upset host UConn in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference Championships on Sunday. The 1-0 win over the No. 13 Huskies advanced the Wildcats to the tournament semifinals.

The ‘Cats improved to 14-5-1 overall, tying the school record for wins in a season.

“The entire team had a stellar performance,” junior Patricia Misciagna said. “It was a victory in which the entire team contributed in. Every member of the team played a part in beating UConn.”

From the outset each team had ample chances to score, as a combined 14 shots were taken in the first half, eight by UConn.

“The first half was frantic at times. Both teams had opportunities to score. It was just a matter of who was going to score first,” Misciagna said.

The ‘Cats stepped up and gained the momentum at the 38:59 mark when a ‘Nova corner kick was converted to a shot by Laura Koch. A UConn defender deflected Koch’s shot into the center of the box. Misciagna gained control of the ball before sending a hard, low liner into net. The Wildcats took the 1-0 lead into intermission.

The momentum continued into the second half as senior leaders Candice MacDonald and Elizabeth Dauble maintained control in midfield. The offensive pressure kept the Huskies’ defense busy, as the ‘Cats recorded six shots in the first 20 minutes of the half.

A beautiful shot at the 65-minute mark by freshman Jamie Weist looked good until UConn’s keeper Erin Rice stepped up to make the big save. UConn answered back at in the 73rd minute, when a dangerous shot by forward Brittany Barakat went high over the ‘Nova net.

This shot prompted a Husky rally, but the Wildcat defense stifled the push as the defensive unit led by Michelle Biehl, Kristin Anderson, Koch and Misciagna extinguished all hopes of a Husky comeback. The 1-0 win was goaltender Chrissy Dolan’s 13th shutout this season, as she recorded five saves.

“The fact that we played them on their home field made the victory even bigger,” said Misciagna. “We are taking one game at a time and focusing to beat West Virginia.”

The Wildcats will take on the Mountaineers in the Big East Championship semifinals today at 7 p.m. in Piscataway, N.J.