Field Hockey Gets Two Weekend OT Wins


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Meghan Mitchell (above) scored the game-winning goal in Villanova’s win over La Salle.

Brooke Ackerman, Staff Writer

Villanova field hockey came out of this past weekend 2-0, defeating Temple in a thrilling 3-2 double overtime game on Friday and then beating its second Big 5 opponent of the weekend La Salle, 3-2, in another exciting overtime match on Sunday. 

In the Wildcats’ highly anticipated game against Temple, the Owls got themselves on the board quickly, scoring just nine minutes into play. But the Wildcats answered back just a few minutes later with a goal from sophomore midfielder Emma Schwarz, her first of the season. 

The Wildcats saw a similar pattern in the second quarter, as the Owls scored again to make it 2-1. The team countered back, as graduate transfer Noor Van de Laar tied the game back up heading into the second half. 

The remainder of regulation was low scoring but intense. Shots on goal in the third quarter were tied 1-1, but in the last quarter of the game, the Owls were aggressive on the attack. They forced Villanova goalkeeper Emma Leppert to come up big with four saves, forcing the Owls into overtime.

The first 7v7 overtime was high energy as ‘Nova pushed hard to keep up with an aggressive Owl lineup. The Wildcats kept their momentum going as they headed into a second overtime, when they kicked it into gear. 

With just over two minutes left on the clock, junior back Sabine de Ruijter shot the ball outside of the arc as it made contact with senior forward Maggie Mick’s stick to launch the ball into the back of the net. The goal earned the Wildcats their first win over the Owls in nearly four years. 

“We’ve been waiting for this game for a year because of our loss against them last season,” head coach Joanie Milhous said. “It was just an absolutely fantastic game. Every single person on our team was a part of that win. We really are one team, one heartbeat, and you could tell that energy, you could feel that excitement.” 

Coming off the high of the Owl defeat on Friday, Milhous wanted to ensure that the team stayed in the right mindset heading into their matchup against another Big 5 school. 

“After a big win, you normally see a dip and a drop,” Milhous said. “We knew that we were gonna be tired from Friday night, physically and mentally. So, we really talked about that big time – about being ready, about being prepared, and not taking anything for granted at all.” 

With this outlook in mind, the Wildcats returned to their home turf again on Sunday to take on the La Salle Explorers. 

While the first quarter was scoreless, the Wildcats saw a familiar name on the stat sheet for them in the second quarter. Meghan Mitchell scored off a corner, assisted by the pair of sophomore midifilers, Raina Smolji and Schwarz, to get Villanova on the board. 

The Wildcats headed into the second half with a 1-0 lead, but La Salle came out with high energy, scoring just seven minutes into the half to tie the game. 

The last quarter of regulation was a back and forth battle. La Salle took the lead for the first time in the game to go up 2-1, and the Wildcats felt the pressure building as they had to score at least one more to force the game into overtime. 

“When we were down in those last few minutes, I knew that we were gonna get it done,” Milhous said. “That’s just the feeling our team has—when a team scores on us, we respond by getting more determined…you could see the sense of ‘alright, figure it out, let’s get it done, we need to put the ball on goal,’ and that’s exactly what our girls did to help us get that tying goal.” 

That tying goal came from Mick, a big name for the Wildcats this past weekend after her winning goal over Temple. After the Wildcats tied it up, they ran out the clock to force overtime for the second go around this weekend. 

However, this time the Wildcats only took a couple minutes to capitalize on their momentum. Sophomore midfielder Anne Drabbe made her way into the arc, slipping the ball through both her and her defender’s legs to connect with none other than Mitchell, who directed the ball into the goal for the second Wildcat win of the weekend. 

After the two Big 5 matchups this past weekend, the Wildcats still remain undefeated at home and in overtime games, something Milhous attributes to the culture of the squad. 

The core values of the team are passion, growth and accountability, which, according to Milhous, “every single person on the team has bought into.” 

“This team has it,” she said simply. “You can see that we are one complete unit, with everybody giving absolutely everything they have. It’s awesome, it’s refreshing, it’s fun, and the girls, as well as us coaches, are all enjoying it.” 

This team culture has helped the Wildcats to earn themselves a 7-2 record as they head into another week of play. 

The Wildcats are scheduled for another away Big East matchup against 6-2 Old Dominion on Friday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m.