Men’s soccer falls on road

Amy Watkins

The men’s soccer team ended its Big East season on Saturday night with a 3-1 loss to No. 2 Louisville on the road. Villanova got an early lead but gave up two late goals to the Cardinals, who were determined to maintain their undefeated regular season record.

With the win, Louisville not only clinched the Big East Red Division title, but also made a case for the top national ranking, as No. 1 Akron was upset by Cleveland State the same day.

The Wildcats finished 8-7-3 overall and 4-3-2 in conference play, tying St. John’s and USF for third place in the division standings. Cincinnati took second. Despite playing in a tough Senior Night atmosphere at Louisville, Villanova came out strong in Saturday’s match, getting on the board first in the 22nd minute.

Freshmen Dylan Renna and Joseph Schmid worked together to give the ‘Cats an advantage in the first half, combining for five shots before the break.

‘Nova’s offense went to work early, as Renna was the first to attack the goal in the fourth minute, sending in a shot that hit the crossbar.

Later in the half, the forward again found his way into Louisville territory and forced Cardinals goalkeeper Andre Boudreaux to make his first of three saves. Renna attempted another shot, which was blocked by a defender, and the rebound ended up at the foot of Schmid, who poked it home.

Villanova held its lead for less than 10 minutes, as Louisville found its groove and began to stage a comeback.

Before the first stanza came to a close, the Cardinals were able to knot the score at 1-1. At the 29:07 mark, a foul on the ‘Cats resulted in a Louisville free kick from 20 yards out. Midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo converted the opportunity into the tying goal, blasting the ball from the middle of the field into the back of the net.

In the second half, the Wildcats struck first once again, as junior Kevin Garcia had a shot on goal in the opening minutes. Shortly after, both Renna and sophomore Kyle Soroka created scoring chances, but the Wildcats never found the opportunity to regain the lead, instead allowing Louisville to take over offensively.

The Cardinals worked toward a 20-11 advantage in shots and a 7-0 edge in corner kicks on the day, challenging Villanova goalkeeper Chris Bresnahan late in the match.

After Bresnahan saved a 68th-minute header, he later lost a one-on-one battle with Louisville forward Colin Rolfe, who scored at 77:16 off passes from teammates Nick Corliss and Kenney Walker. Rolfe also notched the third goal for the Cardinals off an assist from Buck Tufty in the 83rd minute.

Bresnahan had two more saves in the match, preventing Louisville from further stretching the lead.

‘Nova freshman Adetomiwa Adewole’s header shot in the 90th minute, the last attempt for the Wildcats, was saved by Boudreaux.

Next up for Villanova is the Big East Tournament, in which the team has earned a No. 4 seed in the Red Division.