Field hockey notches first conference win

Kristian Stefanides

The field hockey (4-10, 1-2 Big East) team snapped a five-game losing streak and earned their first Big East victory, topping the Georgetown Hoyas (4-9, 0-3 Big East), 2-1, in overtime at Villanova Stadium. Junior forward Kayla Kenney tallied both goals for the Wildcats.

Just nine minutes into extra time, Kenney notched the game-winning goal, her third of the season and second of the contest. The junior controlled the ball through the midfield and down the pitch into Georgetown’s defensive zone. Faking out Hoya defenders, she found space at the top of the circle and blasted a shot past sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Skonecki for the game-winner.  

But the Wildcats had to fight for the opportunity to play in overtime. Villanova led 9-6 in shots during the first half however Georgetown primarily held possession and would be the first to add a tally to the scoreboard. Heading into halftime, ‘Nova was down 1-0 after the visitors capitalized on a penalty corner with no time remaining on the clock. Senior defender Elizabeth Mueller stuffed home a close range shot past Villanova freshman goalkeeper Jordyn Clipstone to jump ahead. 

Although Villanova was down by one goal, it was certainly not out. Throughout the entire second half, Villanova and Georgetown’s penalty corners and shots statistics were nearly even. The Wildcats and Hoyas put the pressure on offensively, totaling nine and eight penalty corners respectively.  

Ultimately, it was Villanova who would capitalize on those offensive opportunities and broke down the Georgetown defensive unit, searching for their first goal of the game. Kenney felt that the atmosphere in the team locker room during the break propelled Villanova to stay in the game and take advantage of the offensive opportunities on cage.

“My coach and teammates were emphasizing that we were very much still in the game,” Kenney said. “We controlled the first half but we just needed to finish.”

And that’s just what they did. The Wildcats came back from the 1-0 deficit to tie the game with about 25 minutes remaining in regulation. Kenney fired a shot from the top of the circle behind Skonecki to help keep ‘Nova in the game.   

“We moved the ball to open space and got the shots on goal,” Kenney said. “That has been a focus for the team this year, to get the ball on cage. When you do that you give yourself opportunities.”

In the win, Clipstone earned the victory in the cage, improving her freshman campaign record to 4-10. Georgetown led Villanova in penalty corners, 16-14, while the Wildcats edged the Hoyas in shots, 23-18. The conference win is the thirteenth straight Wildcat victory over the Hoya and Villanova is now 22-3 all-time versus Georgetown.

Villanova looks to carry this momentum when facing the UConn Huskies on Friday, Oct. 24 for another Big East matchup at Villanova Stadium. 

A team that is currently ranked top-five in the nation, Kenney feels that the Wildcats must take advantage of every offensive opportunities if they are to pull off the upset. 

“Connecticut will be a battle,” Kenney said. “When we have the ball it will be essential to keep possession. Our offensive opportunities may be limited, so when we do have them we need to capitalize on them. We need to put the ball on cage because that is when things happen.”