Weekend Sweep for Women’s Soccer


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

The team celebrates after a game winner earlier this season.

Meghann Morhardt, Staff Writer

Villanova women’s soccer improved to 4-0 on the season with two wins this weekend. The ‘Cats defeated Colorado College, 3-0, on Friday at home and secured a 3-1 road win at Rider University on Sunday. 

Villanova’s seniors dominated Friday’s match, with two goals coming from senior Chloe O’Neill and the third goal from Reagan Smith. Senior goalie Megan McClay recorded seven saves, with six in the second half.

O’Neill gave Villanova the lead with the first goal on a penalty kick in the 13th minute. After the goal, Villanova only had two more shots in the half, as well as two corner kicks. The Tigers countered with five shots on goal along with a corner, but were unable to convert, giving the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. 

Villanova controlled the whole second half through aggressive offense and strong defense from McClay and its line of defenders. The ‘Cats scored quickly, with a goal from Smith in the 53rd minute, giving them a 2-0 lead. Colorado continued to struggle and Villanova was able to secure the win, with its third goal from O’Neill coming on a penalty kick in the 80th minute. 

Despite being shut out, the Tigers outshot the ‘Cats by a 15-9 margin. Villanova was able to control corners with an 8-4 advantage, leading to more scoring opportunities. 

“That’s a massive win that the players will realize more and more as the season goes on,” Villanova head coach Chris McLain said, per Villanova Athletics. “I am really proud of our team for their effort tonight.”

Villanova carried the momentum from Friday night into its game on Sunday against Rider. The ‘Cats showed a dominant performance led once again by Smith, who recorded two goals for the second game in a row. These marked Smith’s 14th and 15th career goals, and gave her five on the season. 

Villanova started strong with a free kick scoring opportunity in just the seventh minute allowing it three shots on goal, but the ‘Cats were unable to convert. Their first goal came in the 30th minute from O’Neill, who got a pass from junior Mikayla Stadler off a breakaway lead pass from freshman Brigid Molloy. O’Neill was able to sneak the goal past Rider’s goalie from 18 yards out. 

It looked like the ‘Cats would enter halftime with a 1-0 lead, but an intense scramble sequence controlled by Stadler resulted in their second goal. Sophomore Emma Weaver sent in a shot that hit the crossbar which ricocheted out to junior Molly Shannon, who fired in another shot that was saved but not controlled. Stadler was able to capitalize on the rebound and secure a 2-0 lead for the ‘Cats heading into the break. 

Rider came out stronger in the second half and got on the board with a goal in the 60th minute from junior forward Makenzie Rodrigues. Villanova wasted no time with a response in the 63rd minute from O’Neill, extending the lead back to two goals. The ‘Cats finished the game with 24 shots, while holding the Broncs to just four. 

“It’s exciting to have the type of depth we do,” Villanova assistant coach Megan Geldernick said, per Villanova Athletics. “Every player on this roster is contributing in a massive way. From freshman to seniors every player has bought in.” 

This is something that the ‘Cats have struggled with in past years and should help them have a successful season not only in the Big East, but in non-conference play as well. 

Villanova is set to host Cornell on Sunday, Sept. 5 at Higgins Sports Complex. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.