Women’s soccer team takes No. 23 ranking

Jeremy Finn

A relentless offensive attack and solid defense powered the No. 23 ranked women’s soccer team to a pair of shutout victories to start its season with a record of 2-0.

Despite the pair of victories, the women still fell one spot in the rankings, as they left the No. 22 ranking they held last week

For her efforts in last weekend’s wins over Lehigh and Rider, senior defender Michelle Biehl was named Big East player of the week.

On Sunday the team out-shot Rider 20-5 in a 2-0 victory. All-Big East forward Laura Johnson tallied a goal and an assist. Thirty minutes in, she fed the ball to freshman reserve Jamie Weist in the center of the box, who booted it past Bronco’s goalie Erin Wolleon for her first career goal and the lead. ‘Nova kept that lead for the rest of the game.

Villanova head coach Anne Clifton credited the Villanova midfielders with controlling the pace of the game. “They start the play and make it predictable, which allows out defense to read the play,” Clifton said.

2003 Big East preseason goalkeeper of the year, senior Chrissy Dolan saw only four shots on goal in the two games. “It was a solid defensive effort from everyone on the team, not just the defense, but the offense too,” Dolan said.

Friday’s game against Lehigh slipped into overtime as the ‘Cats controlled the game, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Early in the second half Johnson slammed a pass from Jenessa Jeltema off the crossbar and headed the rebound toward the goal, only to be saved by Lehigh’s goalkeeper. However, two minutes into the overtime Lehigh failed to clear the ball and Patricia Misciangna scored on a pass from Regina Villari to end the game.

“We didn’t blow them out, but we stayed within out system and created a lot of chances,” Clifton said of the overtime victory.

The team heads to North Carolina this weekend to play Old Dominion today and North Carolina on Sunday as part of the Summit Hospitality Invitational.