Women’s Soccer Falls to Xavier, Beats St. John’s


Sam Rabkin/Villanovan Photography

Megan McClay (above) was named to the Big East honor roll after giving up just one goal in two games.

Victoria Newsome, Staff Writer

On Thursday, Sept. 29, the Villanova women’s soccer team suffered a disappointing loss at home falling to Xavier, 1-0. Molly McLaughlin scored a goal at 20:10 to seal the win for the Musketeers. Xavier’s record improves to 9-2-1 and 3-0 in the conference. On Sunday, the Wildcats got back in the win column with a 1-0 victory over St. John’s. Villanova now has a 3-4-2 record and is 2-1 in the Big East. St. John’s is  5-4-3 (2-2 Big East).

The Wildcats had a difficult time scoring around the box against the Musketeers with six shots total but only one shot on goal. The Musketeers dominated their attack with 21 shots total and nine shots on goal. Big East Weekly Honor Roll mention and graduate goalkeeper for the ‘Cats, Megan McClay, ended the match with eight saves, the most she has had in any game this season. The leading ‘Cats of the game were Emma Weaver, Lauren Ashman, Makayla Stadler and Megan Donnelly. 

In the first half, the ‘Cats had two only shots, as redshirt junior midfielder Kelsey DeLola had the first in the first five minutes and Ashman had a header off the corner around the 43rd-minute mark. 

The ‘Cats entered the second half with three shots and one on goal. By the final score, Ashman had a total of two shots, and Weaver had the one shot on goal made in the second half. 

After the loss against Xavier, the ‘Cats were determined to get the win in their next Big East game at home. Rain or shine, the ‘Cats triumphed over St. John’s and won the match with a goal in the 55th minute by sophomore midfielder Brigid Molloy. The goal was assisted from a free kick by Weaver, which bounced off the head of senior defender Alexa Wojnovich, setting Molloy up to make the score. 

“I’m really proud of them,” head coach Samar Azem said to Villanova Athletics. “It’s a tough game to play with the weather. It was windy, it was rainy, but for whatever reason, this team loves playing in the rain, and I love that about them. They focused on themselves. They focused on how they wanted to move the ball. They focused on how they wanted to defend and what spaces we wanted to take away, and what we wanted to capitalize on. We want to focus on who we are. Game in and game out…And we did well in the second half of the Xavier game, and it really capitalized in the right moments.”

In addition to Azem’s comments, Molloy had some remarks to share after the match regarding her game-winning goal. She emphasized what the win meant to her as the ‘Cats offensive attack and overall energy shined through in the second half at Higgins Sports Complex.

“Today was another big step for us in the right direction,” Molloy said. “It took all 27 of us to come out and play the way we did against a powerhouse Big East Team, getting our second conference win. The energy on the sidelines I think was the best part of it all as well, all of us just supporting each other.” 

The Red Storm and the ‘Cats both ended with seven shots total. The ‘Cats had three of those shots on goal in the second half while the Red Storm had two. After the goal by the ‘Cats, the Red Storm had three shots, as McClay saved the two shots on goal. Both teams had two saves, and the Red Storm had trouble with eight fouls, while the ‘Cats had five. 

The Wildcats are back in the winning column and on the road in the Big East as they will face Butler (4-6-1, 1-2 in Big East) this Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m.