Oct. 19, 2013
OMAHA, Neb. - A goal by senior Dylan Renna with 32 seconds remaining in the first overtime propelled the Wildcats to a 1-0 victory over No. 12 Creighton on Saturday evening here. The win lifts Villanova above .500 for the first time in 2013 at 7-6-1 overall and upped their BIG EAST record to 2-3-0.
The win was Villanova's third in a row and marked the first home loss by the Bluejays since 2012. Creighton falls to 6-5-2 overall, 2-2-1 in conference action.
It was a win born of many factors, including tough road tests earlier this season at places like New Mexico and Seton Hall that did not go Villanova's way.
"That's why we went to New Mexico," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. "We tested ourselves early and have learned what it takes to get a result in a tough environment against a quality opponent.
"We did what we had to do. We knew they would possess the ball and that we would spend more time defending than we usually do. I thought we played well as a unit and limited their chances."
Renna did not record his first point of the season until he tallied an assist in a 2-1 Wildcats victory over Penn on Sept. 24 at the Soccer Complex on West Campus. Since that point, though, he has stepped forward as a dangerous offensive presence and most recently set up a goal in a 2-0 win over St. John's last week that began the current winning streak.
This goal was his most impactful yet and it was aided indirectly by classmate Adetomiwa Adewole.
"Tomi really was responsible for creating the goal," noted Carlin. "He got his head on the ball and was able to play it to Renna."
Renna sent a shot toward the goal that was blocked in front. But the senior from West Milford, N.J. was able to collect the rebound and calmly deposit it into the net to stun the home crowd at the Ameritas Classic.
"Renna kept his composure and finished it for us," stated Carlin.
The Wildcats had been outshot 16-9 over the first 90 minutes but solid defensive work and a pair of key saves by goalkeeper Andrew Weakly kept the match deadlocked. Overtime saw both teams came up with quality scoring opportunities in the 9:28 before the matter was settled.
Villanova kept applying pressure through the extra session as freshman Padraic McCullaugh sent a header towards the goal that went wide in the 93rd minute. Less than two minutes later sophomore Chris Hill forced goalkeeper Alex Bolwich to make the save to keep the game level at 0-0.
Creighton made a strong bid in the 97th minute on a header that Weakly was able to deflect out of harm's way.
"Weakly made three huge saves and to win a game like this you need to have that," stated Carlin. "We were very good defensively all night and Weakly was there when we needed him."
The shutout was the Snohomish, Wash., native's third of the season and VU's third in a row (Freshman Mike Barr earned the clean sheet in Tuesday's 1-0 win over Lehigh).
The triumph came in one of the least hospitable venues in college soccer at Morrison Stadium. Creighton brought a 10-0-1 match at home over the last two seasons into this duel. That home turf success helped propel the Bluejays to the semifinals of the NCAA College Cup in their final season of membership in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2012.
"I told our guys that this is an incredible win but there's more out there for us than just this game," stated Carlin. "This should give us a huge confidence boost but we have to work hard so that we are ready to play a good Providence team on our home field."
Next up, the Wildcats return home to host Providence on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 3:00 p.m. The contest will be streamed via the Nova Nation All-Access Pass.