Nov. 1, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats advanced to the BIG EAST quarterfinal on Thursday with a 3-1 victory over Seton Hall in an opening round match at the Villanova Soccer Complex. VU improves to 12-5-2 overall, matching the school's single season record for wins, established in 1980.
"We knew Seton Hall had a number of creative players who would produce chances for them," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. "We had to weather those and understand that we would get our chances too. I thought we did a good job of it and took advantage when we got those opportunities."
The Wildcats quickly established the upper hand on the Pirates (6-12-0 overall), the No. 5 seed in the Blue Division. Junior Danny Gonzalez intercepted a Seton Hall pass and dribbled on the right side towards the box. He then unleashed a rising blast that Pirate goalkeeper Michael Kuzan got a piece of but could not stop. The shot nestled into the upper part of the net at 9:12 and VU held the 1-0 lead.
Seton Hall, however, created some dangerous chances as the half moved along. Villanova senior goalkeeper John Fogarty came up big for the Wildcats, though, making six saves in the period and keeping the Wildcats in front after 45 minutes.
"(Fogarty) has been terrific for us all season and he was today," stated Carlin. "To be the kind of team that wins in the post-season, you need your goalie to come up big at key points in the game. Fogs' has done that all year for us."
Seton Hall owned a 10-7 edge in shots in the first period.
The Wildcats connected again early in the second half on a chance created by a nice run towards the goal by center back Kyle McCarthy. Seton Hall was whistled for a foul after a defender knocked McCarthy to the grass just outside the box. On the ensuing free kick, fellow senior Kyle Soroka curled a shot over the wall and inside the right post at 50:54 to give VU a two goal edge. The goal was Soroka's eighth of the season and 20th of his college career.
Villanova seemed in total control but Seton Hall did not relent. The Pirates ended their goal scoring drought with a marker at 71:01. The opportunity came to pass when Konrad Plewa connected with Max Garcia at the end of a run along the right side. Garcia drilled a shot inside the far post to cut the gap to 2-1.
The fans at the Soccer Complex were finally able to exhale at 87:51 when junior Dylan Renna and Hayden Harr executed a nifty give and go on a counter attack. Renna sent the final pass to Harr, who flicked the ball into the void in net and the lead was 3-1.
Seton Hall owned a 20-16 advantage in shots on the day. Fogarty made eight saves for VU while Kuzan was credited with five saves.
Villanova moves on to a quarterfinal date at the No. 1 seed in the Blue Division Connecticut. That game, originally slated for Saturday, has been moved to Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in Storrs, Conn., as a result of the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the eastern seaboard.
"Our seniors were aware that the record for wins in a season was within reach," Carlin said. "They have set a lot of standards in our program in their time here and this will be one of the things that they are remembered for."