Men’s soccer falls short against Butler in overtime loss



Mitchell Berrang

Courtesy of Villanova University

On Saturday afternoon, Villanova kicked off its Big East conference play against tenth-ranked Butler. In the midst of a busy Parents’ Weekend, Higgins Soccer Complex filled quickly as students, parents and fans flocked to see the highly anticipated matchup. Butler’s David Goldsmith notched an overtime golden goal in the 96th minute to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 win. 

Butler struck first with a goal at the 17:59 mark by Goldsmith, who powered a deflected shot back into the net. Goldsmith’s goal was the only score in a rather quiet first half, but the following 45 minutes of play were exciting. 

Not even three minutes into the second half, Villanova sophomore sensation Zach Zandi netted his first goal of his 2016 season. The Bulldogs were called for a foul inside their own box, which opened the door for a Wildcats penalty kick. Zandi brilliantly executed the penalty kick and knotted up the score 1 – 1 at the 47:56 mark.

Butler quickly answered with a goal of its own as Marco Charalambous rocketed a shot inside the left post at the 54:33 mark, assisted by Goldsmith. 

However, the Wildcats refused to go away. At the 71:01 mark, junior Miguel Polley connected with fellow junior Lucas Hodges up the left side as Hodges netted Villanova’s second goal of the match. Polley was credited with the assist. 

The final 20 minutes of regulation were exhilarating as both teams fervently tried to close the door on the another. Both teams had near misses that had Higgins Soccer Complex riding an emotional roller coaster down the stretch. 

Despite admittedly being taken out of their preferred style of play, Villanova’s head coach Tom Carlin felt confident heading into overtime. 

“In those last 30 minutes, we found it,” Carlin said. “That’s us. We got there and felt like we were wearing them down. It took a lot to do what they did. We felt good going into overtime because of that.”

After the Wildcats upset sixth-ranked Boston College earlier in the season, the crowd was on edge to see ’Nova pull off another remarkable upset of its 2016 campaign. 

Unfortunately, that optimism was cut short by the Bulldogs’ star of the game, David Goldsmith.  At the 95:02 mark, Goldsmith soared into the air and redirected a well-timed cross into the box and sent the ball just out of Villanova senior goalkeeper Will Steiner’s outstretched arms for a game winning golden goal.

“Butler’s a good team,” Carlin said after the game. “Credit to them. What they are strong at, they do very well. They’re a good transition team that gets numbers forward. They’re pretty hungry in the box.”

After crediting Butler, Carlin also reflected on the performance of his own team. Despite mistakes, he was proud of the grit his players displayed.

“There were some miscues in our end that they took advantage of,” Carlin commented. “With that said, we battled. We clawed our way back twice. It would have been nice to get that third one late in the second half. We had some chances – they cleared a ball off the line. We weren’t able to convert, though, and they did.”

The Bulldogs improve to 5-0-1 on the season, whereas the Wildcats level their overall record at 3-3-0. 

The Wildcats will be back in action Tuesday night as they travel to the Milwaukee on Saturday to face  Marquette in an evening matchup.