2-0 win over Seton Hall key victory for men’s soccer

Dan Barone

Villanova men’s soccer continued their successful season with a 2-0 victory over No. 16 Rutgers Oct. 22. The ‘Cats also upset the 13th ranked Seton Hall Pirates Oct. 12. but this win was quickly followed by a defeat at the hands of Georgetown Oct. 15. The team now rests on the brink of the Big East Tournament as they come down to the final games of the season.

The win over Rutgers helped the ‘Cats bounce back from the loss against the Hoyas. ‘Nova got on the board first with a goal by David O’Donnell who scored the point off a corner kick by Colin Rawls. Despite outshooting the ‘Cats 18-7, Rutgers failed to pull through. The Wildcats held onto their lead and with his second half shot, Raws secured the win against Rutgers.

The game against Georgetown could have put the ‘Cats within easy striking distance of the tournament, but, conditions that included wind gusts of 50 miles per hour didn’t help the ‘Cats as they lost 2-0 to the Hoyas.

The ‘Cats now stand at 2-5 in the Big East and are in 10th place. With the top eight teams making the tournament, they will need to finish the season strong in order to capture their first tournament appearance in eight years.

Georgetown, which was just 4-7-2 coming into the match, netted a goal in each half, and the Wildcats record fell to 7-6-1. Legitimate scoring chances from Jash Lopuski and Scott Rodemer were stopped by Georgetown goalie Tim Hogan. Lopuski also attributed the loss to poor tackling among other things, but also said “it was difficult playing against the wind when we needed to catch up.”

Three days earlier, the bright spot of the season thus far occurred as the ‘Cats downed Seton Hall 1-0. The first half was dominated by the Wildcats, who outshot the Pirates 8-4. The lone goal came at a critical moment in the second half when Rodemer blasted a free kick past the Pirates goalkeeper from 20 yards out. That would be all goalie Craig Bald needed playing behind a defense that has been consistently solid the entire year.

“[The win was] easily the biggest win in my three years on the team. Now we really know we can play with anyone,” said junior Mike Altschuler.

Bald earned Big East Goalie of the Week honors as a result of the victory. Bald made five saves en route to recording his fourth shutout of the season.

Of its three games remaining, ‘Nova has three in Big East competition. Consecutive games against, No.16 Notre Dame and Providence will be pivotal in determining the team’s fate in relation to the tournament.

The ‘Cats will probably need two morewins to have a chance at the Big East Tournament. The next home game will be against Providence on Sunday at the West campus soccer complex at 2 p.m.