‘Cats fall prey at home to No. 20 Notre Dame

Liam Murphy

In its first game back since fall break, the Villanova men’s soccer team played host to the 20th-ranked Fightin’ Irish of Notre Dame this past Wednesday afternoon, giving up five first half goals in the eventual 5-0 loss. The Wildcats fell to 4-11 overall on the season, and 2-6 in the Big East.

The Irish scored their first goal off a free kick just outside the penalty area.

Chad Riley’s kick looked like it would be saved, but the ball was deflected and caught Villanova keeper Sean Teesdale off guard.

The second goal, coming after a questionable obstruction call, was scored by Justin Detter off a brilliant service from the sideline. Adding goals for the Fighting Irish were Erich Braun, Devon Prescod and Justin Ratcliffe. Villanova’s defensive mentality paid off in the second half, allowing zero goals and only three shots on goal.

“Nobody is five goals better than us regardless of what the scoreboard says,” junior Dan Massimini said.

The Wildcats earned their fourth victory of the season last Saturday, when they traveled to West Virginia for a Big East match-up against the Mountaineers.

Down 2-0 at halftime, Villanova came out determined to win. Senior captain Steve Leaman put the ’Cats on the board with a magnificent header.

Sophomore Jonathan Lopuski was credited with the assist. The goal was Leaman’s first of the year, but just one of many classic goals he has scored with his head through the course of his career.

“Leaman’s ability to win head balls is superior to most other players,” senior Mike Kelly said.

Down only 2-1, the Wildcats continued their pressure in the offensive third.

The hard work paid off as freshman Charlie Rowan scored in the 75th minute off a Massimini assist. Villanova was able to string together several quick passes inside the offensive third to beat the Mountaineer defense. Rowan added another goal, his second of the game and fifth of the year, when he followed his own shot and put away the rebound just five minutes after his first goal.

“I told coach at halftime to put Rowan in because that kid is a sniper inside the box. He knows how to finish inside the 18,” Leaman said.

A week earlier, the Wildcats traveled to the nation’s capital to face Georgetown University.

The Hoyas scored in the second minute of play, which seemed to dictate how the rest of the game would go.

The Hoyas second goal, coming off a deflection, showed how most of the Wildcats season has gone. The final score ended in a 4-1 loss for the ’Cats, with Brindle tallying the lone goal for Villanova.

Villanova travels to Providence, R.I. this Saturday for another Big East matchup at 1 p.m.

The Wildcats next home game is Nov. 2 against nationally-ranked Boston College, which will be Villanova’s final conference matchup of what has been, for the most part, a disappointing and frustrating season.