Sept. 18, 2009
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats accumulated the bulk of the afternoon's best scoring chances but the University of Connecticut got a pair of timely second half goals 1:17 apart to post a 2-1 victory over the `Cats in the BIG EAST Conference opener played here on Friday afternoon.
An overcast morning gave way to a beautiful late summer afternoon with temperatures in the high 70's and the weather helped create a backdrop for an entertaining match. Neither squad generated many quality scoring chances in the first 30 minutes and there were only a total of seven shots by both teams in that span.
But things changed in the 40th minute, when the Wildcats moved the ball inside the box. Sophomore Kevin Garcia picked up a rebound and got the ball to junior Anthony "Jordy" Griffith, who knocked the ball past UConn goalkeeper Josh Ford to stake VU to a 1-0 lead. The goal came at the 40:26 mark.
The Wildcats held the edge at intermission.
Early in the second half Villanova pressed hard and dominated play. Freshman Kyle Soroka and senior Mike Seamon both created terrific scoring chances but Ford was equal to the challenge in both cases.
A pivotal point came at the 65:27 mark on a UConn chance in the box. It was ruled that a Villanova player fouled Robert Brickey in the box, giving Brickey a penalty kick. He calmly deposited the ball into the lower right hand side of the net, past goalkeeper Chris Bresnahan to even the contest at one.
The Huskies seized the momentum and turned it into a quick goal. The play began when Tony Cascio fed Toni Stahl, who sent a ball to Alan Ponce at the 10 yard mark. Ponce received the ball facing away from the net with a defender on his back. He made a quick pivot move and sent a low blast that found the back of the net at 66:44.
The `Cats kept pushing and generated several more opportunities but were unable to tie it up. The final was 2-1.
"UConn is a very talented team and I thought we did some good things today," stated head coach Tom Carlin. "We had some chances but couldn't get the second goal. This is the kind BIG EAST experience you really learn from as a young team."
Villanova outshot UConn 17-10 on the day as Soroka (six shots) and Seamon (five shots) applied the heaviest pressure. Bresnahan made two saves in net for the `Cats while Ford stopped three shots for the Huskies.
The Wildcats hope to rebound on Sunday against another formidable BIG EAST squad when Providence comes to the Soccer Complex for a 3:00 p.m. kickoff.