Oct. 13, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Sophomore Oscar Umar tucked a low shot inside the left post in the 31st minute and Villanova relied on a superior defensive effort the rest of the way to post a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats (5-7-3 overall, 2-2-1 BIG EAST) on a sun-splashed afternoon Saturday at the Villanova Soccer Complex.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 10-2-2, their highest win total since the 2007 edition posted a 10-9-1 record. The Cats are 2-0-2 in the BIG EAST.
"This was a good team win for us," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. "We were able to get some chances in the first half. We got one goal and I thought we had enough chances to get one or two more. I thought this was the best we've played defensively all year."
The game's pivotal moment came when senior Kyle Soroka fed a beautiful pass ahead to Umar, who timed his run perfectly. When he collected the ball he had a bit of space along the right side of the penalty area as the Bearcat defenders closed in and goalie Taylor Hafling came out towards him. Umar sent a low ball beyond Hafling's reach that nestled inside the netting near the left post at 30:12 to stake VU to the 1-0 lead.
"We've been working on that a lot in practice with me and Soroka," stated Umar. "He saw me and gave me a great ball. It was a good opportunity for us to execute."
Umar was a presence for most of the afternoon. He finished with six shots on the day and won balls in areas all over the field.
Despite having scored only eight goals all season, the Bearcats produced a collection of dangerous chances, with the bulk of those coming in the second half. Villanova goalkeeper John Fogarty was sharp, making four saves after intermission and six on the day in posting the shutout.
The best chance Cincinnati generated came in the 54th minute when Fogarty stymied a scoring bid from Peter Jannelli. There was also a Bearcat free kick with under two minutes remaining that Fogarty was able to grab out of mid-air after it had been lofted into the box from near midfield by Michael Millay.
Villanova out-shot Cincinnati 18-17 on the day in the BIG EAST Red Division match.
"We know Cincinnati is a good attacking team," noted Carlin, "and we wanted to be sure that we weren't the team they broke through against."
Now Villanova looks to another home match on Wednesday, when Syracuse visits West Campus at 3:00 p.m. There are four regular season matches left on the regular season slate.
"We hadn't beaten Cincinnati before today and that's something we talked about with the team before this game," stated Carlin. "This team has been breaking through some barriers and it started last season in the BIG EAST playoffs. It is really locked in right now. We don't know where it will end but we want to keep focused on our commitment."