Penalty Kicks Secure Women’s Soccer Win on Senior Day


Sam Rabkin/Villanovan Photography

Kelsey DeLola (above) was one of five seniors honored.

Katie Lewis, Staff Writer

Celebrations were about more than just the score as the women’s soccer team triumphed over the DePaul Blue Demons, 2-1, on Tuesday afternoon’s Senior Day game. All three of the goals scored by both teams throughout the tightly-contested Big East matchup came on penalty kicks.

The Wildcats found momentum early in the game after graduate forward CiCi Fox was fouled in the box in the tenth minute. Fox put the Wildcats on the board first, effectively placing her penalty shot out of reach in the lower left corner of the goal. Villanova maintained the lead for the rest of the first half, with graduate goalkeeper Megan McClay making two saves, including a key dive during a dangerous Blue Demons corner kick.

Less than 10 minutes after halftime, a second foul in the box, this time against the Wildcats, gave DePaul an equalizing opportunity in which the Blue Demons’ Katie Godden succeeded (52’). The game remained tied for the next 20 minutes, with both teams competing fiercely. McClay made three more saves throughout the course of the second half, and 20 total fouls were called on both teams in the match.

The game’s pivotal moment arrived when sophomore forward Lauren Belcuore was fouled in the box with just eight minutes left, resulting in the game’s third penalty kick. Junior Emma Weaver stepped up to take the winning shot, firing the ball into the back of the net to put the Wildcats 2–1 over the Blue Demons. DePaul was unable to equalize, despite taking three more shots in the game’s final minutes.

Following the Villanova victory, the team stayed on the field at Higgins Soccer Complex to honor its eight members of the Class of 2023 during the traditional Senior Day ceremony. The seniors — Alexa Wojnovich, Makayla Stadler, Sara Beidleman, Molly Shannon, Sophia Kryza, Kelsey Delola, Fox and McClay — received flower bouquets and took photos together. 

Tuesday’s game leaves DePaul in last place in the Big East, with a single conference win against Seton Hall and a conference record of 1–7–1. Villanova now stands in eighth place with 10 points, only one behind UConn and Marquette. After a disappointing last season with only one conference win, Villanova’s stronger conference record this season of 3–5–1 sets the expectations for an improved postseason performance if the Wildcats can make it.

Only one more regular season game remains for the Wildcats, who will be traveling to Rhode Island to take on Providence on Thursday at 6 p.m. Providence is currently in ninth place and ranked behind Villanova, with nine points and a conference record of 2–4–3.

The Big East Tournament commences on Sunday with Villanova fighting for the final spot.