Christian's Spectacular Goal Helps 'Cats Tie Louisville 1-1
Nov. 3, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - On a windy afternoon here Villanova (10-8-1 overall, 5-5-1 BIG EAST) and Louisville (10-5-3 overall, 6-3-2 BIG EAST) played to a 1-1 standoff in each team's final regular season contest. Both the Wildcats and Cardinals have qualified for the BIG EAST Tournament and now await results from the rest of conference play to determine their next opponents.
With the 20 mile per hour wind at its back in the first half, the Cardinals carried the play. Louisville owned a 10-3 edge in shots, including six of which Villanova senior goalkeeper Jason Friel (Dublin, Pa./Pennridge H.S.) made saves on. The Cards best chance came midway through the period when a strong blast from the right side of the box beat Friel but ricocheted off the right post.
The period ended scoreless.
The tempo changed quickly in the second half as the Wildcats took the attack to the Cards. Three minutes into the period, junior Miles Harrison (Louisville, Ky./Ballard H.S.) sent a free kick from 10 years inside the midfield stripe towards the box. Freshman Chris Christian (West Orange, N.J./West Orange H.S.) collected the ball with his back to the goal to the left of Louisville keeper David Simonlike. Christian used a bicycle kick to send the ball over Simonlike's head into the top right corner of the net to stake the `Cats to a 1-0 lead at 48:50.
"You might see that goal two or three times in your lifetime," stated Villanova head coach Larry Sullivan. "It was really a special play."
Both teams generated quality chances as action heated up. Louisville thought it had tied the game when J.T. Murray knocked the ball past Friel in the 68th minute only to see the play whistled dead due to a foul. And Frank Jonke nearly tied the game but he hit the post.
The Cardinals got the equalizer at 85:04 on a play that began in their own end. Ryan McDonald sent a long ball past midfield that came loose just inside midfield in the Villanova end. Aaron Clapham picked up the ball and sent a cross to Frank Jonke, who then lofted the ball just over the head of Friel and under the crossbar to even the score.
Although both teams created pressure in the overtime periods, neither managed to produce the golden goal. This marked Villanova's fourth consecutive overtime contest and represents their first point in overtime since a 2-1 extra period win at Rutgers last month.
Louisville owned a 25-13 edge in shots and a 9-5 edge in corner kicks. Friel made 10 saves for Villanova in goal while Simonlike stopped five shots for the Cardinals.
The Wildcats finish the season with 16 points in BIG EAST play and will finish anywhere from fourth to sixth in the Red Division standings depending upon tonight's results. A fifth or sixth place finish would send Villanova on the road for a first round BIG EAST Tournament match on Wednesday, Nov. 7. A fourth place finish would give the `Cats a home game at the Soccer Complex that afternoon.