Men’s soccer splits opening games of 2002

Liam Murphy

Villanova returned to action Wednesday night in front of a huge crowd at St. Joseph’s University. Knocking on the door of the St. Joe’s goal virtually all game, the ‘Cats gave up the lone goal of the match with only six minutes remaining. In the 84th minute, Mike Guglielmucci gathered a pass deep inside the Villanova penalty area and scored on keeper John Williams.

“The kid beat four of us in the box and played it to a wide open player in front of the net. It can’t happen,” sophomore Tony Watkins said, who played quite well filling in for the injured Dave O’Donnell.

Villanova had several opportunities in the match, but could not convert. The first came midway through the first half when a Tony Rod free kick from straight away went into the wall. With 22 minutes remaining, junior Colin Raws hit a brilliant ball from 26 yards out that just went wide of the St. Joe’s goal.

Villanova’s best chance came in the 74th minute when a free kick taken by Raws met the head of junior striker Chris Edgar, who sent the ball towards the goal, but bounced off the crossbar.

“Our defense played well for 84 minutes, and then we were caught flatfooted,” senior tri-captain Steve Leaman said.

The men’s soccer team kicked off its season in the right way Saturday, beating Monmouth University 1-0 on a windy and rainy day. Freshman striker Charles Rowan recorded his first career goal in the 45th minute of action, helping the ‘Cats start off their season 1-0. Redshirt senior Tony Rod, or “Hot Rod” as his teammates call him, served a cross into the box with only 14 seconds left in the first half. Rowan connected on the service, sliding the ball past Monmouth goalkeeper Art Satterwhite, giving the ‘Cats the lead heading into intermission. The lone goal proved to be enough as Villanova recorded its first shutout of the season.

“Rowan’s a sniper inside the box,” Villanova head coach Larry Sullivan said. “When he is in there, he’s gonna score.”

Winning the season opener was a good test for the Wildcats, as they were missing a huge part of their defense. Senior tri-captain Steve Leaman was forced to sit the game out, due to an accumulation of cautions and cards from last season.

“Playing without Steve was a good test for us, but the defense did win that game for us,” senior defender John Keleher said. Senior goalkeeper Sean Teesdale made two good saves in the game.

The first, in the 61st minute, came from a 20-yard shot from Monmouth striker Joe Sellitto, which Teesdale was able to punch to the side. Only five minutes later, Teesdale was able to fall on a direct kick from just outside the penalty area. “Teesdale played well for us,” added Sullivan.

Not all things went Villanova’s way against Monmouth. Sophomore playmaker Jonathan Lopuski was tackled from behind, injuring his ankle. The team is hoping he will be able to return to action for the Penn State game, which is slated for September 13.

“I don’t care if you beat us,” commented Sullivan, “but don’t beat us up.”

Villanova kicks off its Big East schedule tomorrow at 1 p.m. against Pittsburgh.