Softball Goes 0-2 in Home Opener


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Sydney Hayes scored the team’s sole run on a homerun in game one.

Aphrodite Dimopoulos, Staff Writer

Big East play is officially underway for Villanova softball as the team hosted Butler this past Friday for the Wildcats’ home opener. The team fell twice to the Bulldogs on Friday in an afternoon doubleheader, losing first, 3-1, and later, 6-0. Due to inclement weather, the remainder of games for the weekend were canceled.

The start of the season has been a battle for the Wildcats. They started the season traveling from state to state competing in mini-tournaments since early February. Entering the weekend with a record of 8-12, the team was ready to play with the home advantage and engage in some conference play. 

Beyond playing in their backyard, the Wildcats were finally able to play on the newly renovated Villanova Softball Complex. The upgrades consist of artificial turf in the outfield and reworked infield playing surfaces. Furthermore, the outfield wall boasts new padding, and new amenities are scattered throughout the complex to give both fans and athletes the best possible experience. While a new field created a ton of excitement, the conference competition was the real buzz surrounding this weekend. 

As defending Big East Champions, Villanova had a title to defend entering the 2022 season. The team has been picked as the preseason favorites to finish at the top of conference standings this year. Although Friday’s double header did not go as planned, the team is expecting tremendous growth to come. 

In game one, Villanova fell short in both hits and runs to Butler. Senior center fielder Sydney Hayes scored the Wildcats’ first and only run of the game with a long home run in the third inning. Also supporting offensively was senior shortstop Megan Kern who, in the seventh inning, hit a hard line drive single into left field. Although Kern advanced the tying runner with a well-placed hit, Butler pitcher Karli Ricketts fought a tough defensive game, striking out eight Wildcats and walking only one. 

Villanova started off with graduate pitcher Paige Rauch on the mound. She pitched the first three innings for the Wildcats, scattering only three hits and allowing no earned runs. In the fourth inning, she was replaced with freshman Kelsey White, a new addition to the bullpen for Villanova. Although it is her first year on the team, White already leads the team with 13 mound appearances this season and has allowed either zero or one earned runs in six of those matches.

Game two started off with a strong pitching performance from senior Sara Kennedy. Butler found an early lead in the first inning with a one run scoring off of two hits, but Kennedy’s strength at the mound kept the score at 1-0 until the end of the fourth inning. While Villanova strung together four hits throughout the course of the game, none of its offensive work resulted in a run. Senior catcher Ryan Henry led the Wildcats in the game with her two hits in her three at-bats. Butler took over later in the sixth inning with four runs, breaking away for what would result in the final score.

The Wildcats were expecting to return to the field on Sunday to close out their three-game series, but due to snowfall and cold weather, the Wildcat and Bulldog matchup was canceled. 

Looking ahead, Villanova plays Townson in a doubleheader on Wednesday and Delaware in a doubleheader on Saturday. While Towson, currently 6-12, are on a four-game win streak, the team has 0-3 away record, providing hope to the Wildcats at home. Delaware has been performing well this season and is currently sitting at a 13-7 overall record. While neither team is in the Big East, Villanova is prepared for a full week and is looking for its first win on campus.