Men’s Soccer makes statement, defeats nationally ranked Delaware



Wyatt Noble

Courtesy of Villanova University

This past Sunday the Wildcats defeated the Delaware Blue Hens, 2-1, at the Stuart and Suzanne Grant Stadium in Newark, Delaware on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. 

The Blue Hens were looking to maintain their perfect record with another win, while the Wildcats were looking to pick up their second straight win against nationally ranked opponents and improve to 3-2 on the season.

The Blue Hens got off to a fast start, blitzing the Wildcats and scoring in the first minute of play. Guillermo Delgado fired a shot into the bottom left corner of the Wildcats’ goal. 

The rest of the first half was hotly contested with both teams exchanging shots and three Delaware players receiving yellow cards. The Hens were firmly in control of the game at the end of the first half of play, but the Wildcats had created a few promising opportunities with three shots on goal. 

Early in the second half, the Wildcats came dangerously close to going down 2-0 to their nationally ranked opponent. In the 46th minute of play, the Blue Hens were awarded a penalty kick, but junior goalkeeper Will Steiner came up with a huge save to keep the Wildcats in the game. 

“Coach (Mike) Montross gets a big assist on that one,” Villanova head coach Tom Carlin told “He went back and watched every PK Delaware took last season. Before he hit it, Montross gave Steiner the tip and that’s exactly where it was hit. Steiner made a great stop.”

This was a big turning point for the Wildcats, who seemed galvanized by their goalkeeper’s heroics.

Riding the momentum of Steiner’s big save, the Wildcats stormed back down the field and tied the game in the 47th minute. The goal was scored by senior Padraic McCullaugh, who scored from 15 yards out for his second goal of the season. This was also the first goal the Blue Hens had allowed all season, but the Wildcats were not done yet.

Having tied the nationally ranked Blue Hens, the Wildcats struck again in the 61st minute to jump ahead, 2-1. Junior Lucas Hodges played a nice cross into fellow junior Miguel Polley, who made no mistake from eight yards out.

 A strong second half of high pressing and stout defense from the Wildcats saw them rally and overcome their early deficit. With some fine saves from keeper Steiner and two clinical finishes from McCullaugh and Polley the Wildcats rallied past the Blue Hens to register their second straight win over a nationally ranked opponent in seven days.

“We were a little more physical and pressed some more in the second half,” Carlin noted to “That helped us create some good opportunities.”

The Wildcats have won their last three games since losing two straight to start the season and now sit at 3-2. 

“This has been a good response to our start,” Carlin told, referencing losses to Rider and Harvard. “We haven’t been perfect but we’ve kept working, stayed together, and our attention to detail has been good.”

The Wildcats will meet Butler this Saturday. The Bulldogs will come to the University with a four-game win streak. At 4-0-1, the Bulldogs currently boast the best record of all the teams in the Big East Conference, while Villanova comes in at seventh. 

While the Bulldogs have the superior record, it should be noted that neither team has played against another team from the Big East, and the Wildcats have notched two big wins against top 25 opponents in the past week alone. 

Saturday’s game will be the perfect opportunity for the Wildcats to announce themselves as serious contenders for the Big East title.