Men’s soccer falls in OT in Big East opener vs. Pitt

Liam Murphy

The men’s soccer team opened up Big East play Saturday to a wild crowd looking for a victory. Villanova was unable to send its fans home happy after an overtime goal 10 minutes into the extra period ended the game 2-1 in favor of the University of Pittsburgh.

Villanova dominated the Panthers, ranked No. 20 in the country, through much of the first half, outshooting Pitt 6-2 through the first 45 minutes of action.

The Wildcats came out in the second half much like they did in the first, keeping possession and putting together some crafty plays in the offensive third of the field. Their hard work and patience paid off when freshman Pat Gallagher brilliantly played a quick restart to junior striker Chris Edgar, creating a two-on-one situation just outside the penalty area.

Drawing the defender to him, Edgar laid the ball off to junior Scott Rodemer, who easily put the ball in the back of the net, giving the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute of play.

This game looked as if it were going to be a win for the ‘Cats, but a questionable handball call with only 1:03 remaining enabled Pitt to tie the game.

Pitt forward Mario Carrizales hit a low penalty past Wildcat keeper Sean Teesdale, forcing the extra period. The defensive mishap at the end of the game would prove to be costly for Villanova.

The ‘Cats came out in the overtime period a little slower than they had in the second half, but both teams were going for the win.

At the 99:37 mark, Carrizales was able to connect once again, putting a shot past late substitution Jon Williams, senior.

Villanova returned to action Wednesday when the team traveled to city rival Temple, which is also head coach Larry Sullivan’s alma mater. The team came out strong and Edgar notched his first goal of the season in the 34th minute.

Edgar was the leading scorer for the Wildcats in 2000, with five goals in his freshman year. This was his first goal since returning from a medical red shirt.

Freshman Charlie Rowan scored his second goal of the season later in the first half, making the score 2-0 heading into halftime. In the second half, freshman Brett Strassfurth tallied his first career points for Villanova, making it a 3-0 win for the Wildcats.

“We finally started scoring,” junior Dan Massimini said. Notching his first career shutout was keeper Williams.

The Wildcats played with a new lineup for the Temple game. Tony Watkins was moved to an outside marking back position, which meant Tony “Tod” Rod moved to a central midfield position.

“Tod played real well in that position for us after being a defender for a year,” senior back Keleher said. With Rod in the midfield, sophomore Jonathan Lopuski moved up to a withdrawn forward position, enabling him a little more freedom in the offensive third of the field.

Villanova travels to State College, Penn., this weekend for two tough games, one against nationally ranked Penn State and the other against Ohio State University.