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Wildcats Set to Host Hartford in Home Opener
Chris Hill

Sep 2, 2013

VILLANOVA, Pa. - After journeying west to compete in one of college soccer's most challenging environments, Villanova returns to its own pitch on Tuesday afternoon for its home opener against Hartford. Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m. on West Campus (Nova Nation All-Access).

The Wildcats hope to bounce back after falling at No. 11 New Mexico 7-2 in their season debut before a raucous crowd in Albuquerque, N.M.

"We've moved forward," said head coach Tom Carlin. "Our focus now is on a good Hartford team."

The Hawks earned a 1-0 win on opening night in West Hartford, Conn., on Friday against Holy Cross. Last season, Hartford faced the Wildcats at Penn Park in Philadelphia on Sept. 7 and the Wildcats needed two goals in the final 20 minutes to outlast the Hawks 2-1.

Villanova features only three seniors on its 2013 roster and an entirely new look on its back wall and in net. Three set pieces resulted in goals on Friday and VU also was whistled for a foul that gave the Lobos a penalty kick.

"I didn't think the score was indicative of our effort," noted Carlin. "I thought we fought hard in a difficult environment."

The good news is that two of those newcomers scored a goal in their first appearances as Wildcats. Freshman Padraic McCullaugh, who also netted a goal in the team's first scrimmage against Drexel, built on his strong preseason with a goal on a header on a long ball fed in by junior Matt Wiltse in the first half. Chris Hill, a transfer from Richmond, also scored for VU off a pass from junior Oscar Umar.

Villanova is 3-0-2 in home openers under Carlin. A year ago, the Wildcats defeated Stony Brook 4-1 to begin the home portion of the slate en route to a 7-2-1 mark on West Campus that included a BIG EAST Championship opening round triumph over Seton Hall.