Men’s soccer sinks Pirates on early goal

Amy Watkins

The men’s soccer team opened its Big East season at home on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Seton Hall University. At the West Campus Soccer Complex, the Wildcats picked up an early goal and held onto their lead for the rest of the match.

Villanova’s first conference victory not only extended their current winning streak, but also marked the fourth consecutive shutout for junior goalkeeper Chris Bresnahan, who has allowed only six goals in eight games.

The deciding play came in the 11th minute, when sophomore Kyle Soroka scored off a set piece just outside the box to put Villanova ahead.

Soroka, who also led all players with five shots, comes off a freshman campaign in which he tallied five goals, three of which were game-winners. Against Seton Hall, he built upon that success, and as a sophomore, he is expected to develop into one of Villanova’s main scorers.

Although the Wildcats got on the board quickly in Saturday’s game, they continued to pursue offensive opportunities and searched for a second goal throughout the match.

Nine players posted shots, including sophomore Kyle McCarthy and freshman Dylan Renna, who notched two apiece. Moments after the Seton Hall foul that resulted in Soroka’s free kick, Villanova sent four more shots into the goal area, but all were either off-target or blocked by the Pirates. The ‘Cats dominated the first half, outshooting Seton Hall 10-6 and recording four corner kicks while holding their opponents at zero.

A ‘Nova corner in the 43rd minute was almost converted into a goal, but McCarthy’s header bounced off the crossbar. The rebound was picked up by senior Anthony Griffith, whose shot sailed high over the net.

Seton Hall’s only chance came in the 25th minute, when forward Max Garcia found an opening on the right end of the field and blasted the ball at Bresnahan, who made his first of five saves in the match. Moments later, the Villanova goalie stopped a second shot as SHU’s Andrew Welker made another attempt to tie the score.

After the break both teams came out strong. The Wildcats attempted six shots while the Pirates were not far behind with five. Seton Hall owned a 3-0 edge in corner kicks and tested ‘Nova’s defense several times.

Early in the half, a header by Pirates forward Dritan Sela could have been threatening, but it was cleared away from the goal.

Seton Hall keeper Sean Carr kept the ‘Cats from stretching their lead late in the game, blocking Renna’s 79th-minute shot from 17 yards out. Carr ended the day with justtwo saves.

The Wildcats finished up their four-game home stand against Loyola yesterday and will take their 1-0 Big East record to DePaul on Saturday.