Anders Said It: Soccer Duo Leads Way


Chris Taylor/Villanovan Photography

Viktor Benediktsson (above, right) has three goals on the season.

Anders Pryor, Sports Columnist

Villanova’s men’s soccer team posted a dominating win on Friday against St. John’s, 4-0. Three of the goals came within rapid succession in just 19 minutes in the first half. Senior defender Viktor Benediktsson once again provided excellent leadership and awareness that allowed him to put the game out of reach. Graduate goalkeeper Kent Dickey posted 11 saves in the opening week of the season and continues to act as an essential piece to the winning 3-2-2 record after posting a clean sheet against St. John’s. It was Dickey’s third shutout of the season. 

With Benediktsson and Dickey, men’s soccer could be on pace for one of its best seasons in five years. 

Last week, both players were honored by the Big East for their early accomplishments. Dickey received Big East Goalkeeper of the Week, while Benediktsson, who had goals in back-to-back games entering Big East play, earned a spot on the Weekly Honor Roll. 

Both players were an essential part of Friday’s victory. Benediktsson’s goal came from a corner kick by junior midfielder Dominic Cyriacks, an exchange that head coach Tom Carlin was especially pleased with. 

“The service we have gotten on the corner kicks the last few games has really made a difference,” Carlin said to Villanova Athletics.

And he gave Benediktsson the credit he deserved. 

“Tonight, it was Dom serving a great ball into Viktor,” Carlin said. “Viktor’s been open in there before but we weren’t always finding him. We’ve found him these last few games, and he’s a handful for the defense to deal with.” 

The impact of both Dickey and Benediktsson has shown over time. When eliminating the shambles of the COVID-19 year in 2020, the amount of wins the team has posted has increased each year one of them has been present on the team: eight wins in 2018, nine in 2019 and 12 wins in 2021. This season could be the one for them to break 15 wins. 

Benediktsson’s leadership has always been a present and essential part of the team’s pursuit. His vocal nature has earned him respect by the coaches and players, and it was a vital part of what got Villanova to the NCAA Tournament last year and what will hopefully propel it this year. 

When a reporter asked senior midfielder Josh Belluz a couple weeks ago about Benediktsson’s vocal leadership, he was straight to the point.

“Viktor is one of a kind,” Belluz said to Villanova Athletics. “Everywhere I have played, I never had that vocal of a person on my team. Having that, I think, is a really good thing. I think it just adds more confidence to the team. We have a diverse group of personalities and Viktor keeps us locked in. As a player, he’s fearless.” 

Villanova should be in store for an exciting season that could see Benediktsson taking on a role of leadership that exceeds anything he’s experienced since becoming a member of the program. His and Dickey’s experience should be able to propel the team into a space they haven’t seen in some time. 

Last season, Villanova saw itself in the NCAA Tournament and secured an opening round 1-0 victory against Vermont. This season, a tournament run led by the two sensational upperclassmen could see several wins instead of one. 

Villanova will face Penn State on Wednesday at 4 p.m. before going on a long stretch of Big East play. The Nittany Lions are 4-2-2, and the Wildcats will need every bit of Benediktsson and Dickey to defeat the Big 10 powerhouse.