Sept. 20, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Kyle Soroka's return to the lineup helped lift Villanova (6-2-0 overall, 0-0-0 BIG EAST) past La Salle 2-1 on Thursday afternoon at the West Campus Soccer Complex in a Philadelphia Soccer Six game.
Soroka, who sat out the Wildcats' two games last weekend with a sprained knee ligament, made an impact before the game was two minutes' old. Junior Dylan Renna fed a ball into the box in front of the La Salle (5-2-1 overall, 0-0-0 Atlantic Ten) net to an open Soroka. Soroka's blast banged off the left post but rolled right back to him. The native of Langhorne, Pa. (Neshaminy High School) made the most of his second chance, rolling it into the left side of the net at the 1:57 mark.
"Renna made the cross to get me the first shot," noted Soroka. "The ball just came back to me when I hit the post with the first shot. I took my time and put it in."
"It's important to get the first goal," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. "We work on creating those chances early and we got one today. When you do that, it takes a little bit of the pressure off."
La Salle nearly answered that goal quickly. Freshman Joe Farrell re-directed a shot that forced VU goalkeeper John Fogarty to make a leaping save in the contest's fifth minute.
"We knew La Salle would get their chances," Carlin stated. "They are aggressive and very good on set pieces. We knew John would have to make saves in big spots and that certainly was one."
For much of the rest of the half, the Wildcats generated the bulk of the scoring chances. VU out-shot La Salle 10-3 in the first 45 minutes and forced Explorer goalkeeper John McCarthy to make a pair of sharp saves.
That theme continued early in the second half as the `Cats kept applying the pressure. Renna and sophomore Aaron Dennis both had some quality chances and Soroka continued to be a major presence.
Soroka's impact was felt again in the 66th minute when he made a quick move with the ball near the top of the box that drew a foul from La Salle. Villanova was awarded a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box and Soroka took it. He lofted a ball over the wall and past McCarthy into the top shelf on the right side of the net to give the Wildcats a 2-0 advantage at the 65:27 mark.
La Salle responded again, though, and this time shaved the deficit in half. Rob Friskey headed a ball that popped loose in the box off a scrum over Fogarty's head at 67:48.
"I didn't have a great look at that play but it seemed like we could have defended that better," Carlin stated. "It gave them a lift and got us back on our heels a bit."
The Explorers kept coming and the game grew feisty with each side being assessed a pair of yellow cards in the final 25 minutes. There was pushing and shoving near midfield that halted play with 38 seconds left. But in the end, Villanova kept the Explorers at bay to post their sixth win of 2012.
Soroka's efforts were noteworthy beyond the two goals.
"How much does it help to have him back?"
Thursday's box-score certainly makes a strong case that it means quite a lot.
Villanova is next in action on Tuesday afternoon when another Soccer Six rival visits West Campus. Temple meets the Wildcats here with kickoff scheduled for 4:00 p.m.