Oct. 1, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats (3-4-1 overall, 0-1-0 BIG EAST) have only two non-conference matches remaining on their 2013 regular season slate. The first of those comes Wednesday night when VU makes the short ride to meet Soccer Six rival La Salle on its home field at 7:00 p.m.
The `Cats hope to rebound from a disappointing 2-1 loss at Butler in the BIG EAST opener on Saturday night when they were unable to cash in on a number of quality chances.
The game-winner in the 73rd minute at Butler came on a corner kick and the Wildcats spent plenty of time in Monday's practice session focused on set piece situations.
"We worked on the ability to defend set pieces, throw-ins, goal kicks and not just corner kicks," explained Carlin. "Those are crucial moments that we have to maintain our focus on.
"I call it the moment of truth. We continue to come up on the other end at the moment of truth. We had a lot of chances against Butler. There were four or five chances on the attacking end that we needed to be better on. We had only two in our end but they cost us."
Such details are often part of the maturation of a young team and Carlin believes that strides are being made in a campaign when the Wildcats have replaced seven key pieces from a unit that tied the school record with 12 victories in 2012.
"I told the guys that the advantage to our disadvantage right now is that we're learning and becoming more resilient," Carlin states. "We're 3-4-1 and we're working harder at these things every day. We're becoming more aware because of this. If we can apply it, we have a shot to get better quickly."
La Salle is led by Jason Plumhoff, who has scored four goals and added three assists in eight games in 2012. The Explorers are coming off a 3-1 home victory over Stetson.
"Right now, we're 3-3-1 out of conference," says Carlin. "Our non-conference record has bearing if we are going to have a shot at the post-season. We are getting ourselves ready for the Big East Wednesday/Saturday schedule and trying to get in the mindset that we need to have a much better October than we did September. This is the start of it.
"We're playing against a good, tough and physical Philadelphia Soccer Six team and we have to be ready to come and compete. It should be a good test for us."
On Saturday, the Wildcats resume the BIG EAST portion of their schedule when they host Marquette on West Campus (3:30 p.m.). Villanova plays its final non-conference match of the campaign later in the month when it hosts Lehigh on Oct. 15.