Oct. 29, 2011
RADNOR, Pa. - On a day when the weather conditions more closely resembled January than late October, Louisville got a goal in each half to defeat Villanova 2-0 in a critical BIG EAST Red Division match today. The Wildcats completed the regular season with a 6-8-4 overall record, 3-4-2 in the BIG EAST.
Villanova now awaits the outcome of the remaining BIG EAST regular season action to learn which team it faces next (the playoffs are schedule to begin Wednesday but the nasty weather that has plagued the East Coast this weekend may impact that schedule). The win by Louisville gives the Cardinals fourth place in the Red Division and means VU will open the BIG EAST post-season on the road against an opponent to be determined.
The story on this day was the difficult playing conditions. Overnight rains and a gloomy forecast forced the game to be switched to the artificial surface at nearby Eastern University with kickoff moved ahead to 11 a.m. By the time both teams took the field for pre-game warm-ups, the surface was snow covered and remained that way throughout. The precipitation was constant over the 90 minutes, featuring snow and the occasional changeover to sleet and freezing rain.
"I've never been a part of a game with conditions like that," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. "We're weren't really playing soccer - it was more like a snowball fight. But the philosophy of both coaches is that we wanted to try to get this game in with the playoffs supposed to start on Wednesday."
Both teams managed to create scoring chances as best they could.
The Cardinals had the better share of those in the first half, out-shooting the `Cats 12-5 and forcing Villanova senior goalie John Fogarty to make three saves. Each team did not hesitate to put the ball on net as the slick conditions often made securing the ball a challenge for the keepers.
The Wildcats nearly broke on top early on a sequence featuring sophomores Dylan Renna and Daniel Gonzalez. Only an alert play by a Cardinal defender kept the ball out of the Louisville net in the 28th minute.
The Cardinals struck first with 5:31 to play in the first half. The play began when Louisville's Brock Granger fed the ball in from his right back position and found Nick DeLeon. DeLeon touched the ball to Buck Tufty who put the ball into the left side of the net behind Fogarty and it was 1-0.
Early in the second half Louisville struck again from the right side. Michael Roman and Colin Rolfe worked a quick give and go and Rolfe fired a cross through the box where a streaking DeLeon got his foot on the ball and directed inside the far post to make it 2- 0 in the 51st minute.
Though they made every effort to push back, it was a tall order for Villanova on a day where artful passing was tough to accomplish.
"The conditions affected us in a big way," noted Carlin. "We place so much value on passing the ball and you really couldn't do that today. It was kind of the opposite of that - send the ball down and go chase it. We had to change our approach. But the credit goes to Louisville. They overcame the conditions and got the result they wanted."