Field hockey rolls into postseason on three-game win streak

Anne Boyd

Finishing the season with a powerful win 4-2 Sunday against Providence, the field hockey team is ready to go into tournament play with full force.

The ’Cats made playing field hockey look about as easy as walking to class in the game against Providence. The girls’ came onto the field ready to win. The Providence College Friars were intimidated within the first two minutes of the game when junior Christina Lugones shot one right past the defending goalie. About 20 minutes later the Wildcats put another point on the board, as junior leading scorer Leah Lisausky scored on her own rebound.

Late in the first half, Providence pulled close with a quick goal. However, freshman Sarah Francis fought back driving one right into the net and bringing the halftime score to 3-1.

Coming out after halftime pumped up and ready to take the win home, the girls played just as strong for the second half as they did in the beginning. Lisausky racked up another goal for the team just 11 minutes into the second half, pulling the ’Nova lead up to three. Providence tried to fight back with a round of shots on senior goalie Meghan Helwig, who shut down the Friars with her powerful saves. But with 15 minutes left in the game, Providence finally pulled through and put another point on its side of the board, bringing the score up 4-2. Providence was unable to beat the Villanova defense again, and the Wildcats emerged victorious with a 4-2 win which brought their overall record to 10-8 and their conference play record to 4-1. This win gave Villanova their best Big East season since 1992.

As has been reflected consistently throughout the season, junior Leah Lisausky has proved to be a valuable asset to the Villanova offense. Her powerful scoring ability is reflected by her 11 goals this season. She added three goals for the win in the ’Cats’ final game of the season, and is tied with Lugones for goals this season. Lisausky’s intense performances thus far in the Big East earned her the honor of Big East Co-Offensive Player of the Week. This marks the third individual honor for the Wildcats this season. Other honors included junior Lugones, who also received Co-Offensive Player of the Week, and Helwig who was awarded Defensive Player of the Week.

Early last week, the ’Cats scratched out another win when they defeated Lehigh 5-2 Wednesday. Freshman Rory Rogers opened up the scoring for the Wildcats with her sixth goal of the season about halfway through the first half. Minutes later, freshman Stephanie Grejtak scored her first career goal, giving her team a two-goal lead.

Villanova was then called for a foul which resulted in a penalty stroke for Lehigh. Freshman Maureen Harrington capitalized on the opportunity and put the ball past Helwig taking the first half score to 2-1.

Lehigh hit the field aggressively at the whistle for the second half. Just five minutes in, Lehigh fired a shot into the net, tying things up. Less than two minutes later, sophomore Vanessa Pizzulli pulled the Wildcats back up to a one-point lead. Lugones drove one in a short while later scoring her seventh goal of the season.

Villanova added one last goal to seal the win 5-2, when Lisausky pushed one in off a corner play from Pizzullli and Lugones.

As for Big East tournament championship play, the ’Cats go into the semifinals as the No. 2 seed and will face off against Boston College Nov. 8. In last year’s semifinals, ’Nova also faced off against BC and defeated them 3-2 to advance to the Big East finals against Syracuse, who they fell to with a 1-0 loss. Winning the Big East Tournament would give the team an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The Big East games will be played on Coyne Field in Syracuse, N.Y.