Women’s soccer bested by Harvard, heads into conference play



Wyatt Noble

Courtesy of Villanova University

Playing on the road, the Wildcats fell 3-0 to the Harvard Crimson this past Sunday. This was the team’s final game of non-conference play before its Big East season opener against Butler on the 24th.

It was another tough game for the Wildcats. The loss puts the ‘Cats at 2-7 in out of conference play, but head coach Fran Kulas remains calm. 

“There were a couple little things we needed to adjust,” Kulas said. “We told the team at halftime, we’re fine, we were a little out of sync but we did some good things.”

Down 1-0 at halftime there was no need for panic as coach Kulas pointed out. Despite the Crimson taking 12 shots, keeper Emily Harris was only forced into making two saves. While the Wildcats only mustered three shots, the Crimson was struggling to capitalize on its dominance with only one goal to show for their efforts. 

This boded well for the Wildcats who were looking to turn the tables in the second half, but Harvard’s Leah Mohammadi had other plans.

Mohammadi’s goal came in the first minute of play and threatened to snuff out any hope of comeback for the Wildcats. The Crimson’s leading goal scorer, Margaret Pruce, was in devastating form as she notched her sixth and seventh goals of the season while also picking up an assist on the goal scored by Mohammadi. 

“Right away we put ourselves in a hole giving up that quick goal coming out of halftime,” Kulas said. “Now we’re down two nothing and we’re chasing the game.”  

Despite the deficit, the Wildcats were undeterred and continued to push forward in search of a goal. 

“We did some good things late,” Kulas said. “We had two really good looks at goal in the last five minutes.” 

The Wildcats managed seven shots but were unable to find the back of net, an area in which coach Kulas knows the team must improve going forward. “We need to be more consistent finishing our chances,” Kulas said.

Following Sunday’s loss, the Wildcats have conceded 23 goals through nine games while only managing to score eight themselves, and while the players and coach Kulas know they must improve, there is a silver lining for the ‘Cats. 

“We played 24 players, a lot of players were able to play,” coach Kulas said. “I was proud of the fact that even though we were down 3-0 and it was late we put in a lot of players off the bench and they gave us a great lift energy wise, and the quality of the soccer was very good as well.” 

Depth is something the Wildcats will need come the middle and end of the season as injuries inevitably begin to take their toll, and coach Kulas seems confident in his entire squad, not just his starting 11.

With the start of Big East play comes the opportunity for a fresh start, something that is not lost on coach Kulas. 

“We’ve played a very tough schedule, and we’ve done that for a reason, to prepare for the Big East,” Kulas said. “At this point our record is 0-0 going into Big East play, now it’s about points.”

Looking ahead to that first game of Big East play, the Wildcats will host the Butler Bulldogs at the Higgins Soccer Complex on Saturday September 24th. The team looks to get off to a winning campaign and kick start its bid for a spot in the Big East Tournament at the end of this fall.