Oct. 2, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats' first BIG EAST road game takes them to one of the toughest stops on the circuit, Belson Stadium at St. John's for a match Wednesday evening. The `Cats (7-2-1 overall, 0-0-1 BIG EAST) will square off against the No. 12/16 Red Storm (7-1-3 overall, 1-1-0 BIG EAST) at 7:30 p.m. in Jamaica, N.Y.
The Red Division rivals split a pair of decisions in 2011. Villanova defeated St. John's 3-1 last October on a wet day at the Villanova Soccer Complex thanks in no small part to two goals from Kyle Soroka. St. John's returned the favor in the BIG EAST semifinal at Red Bull Arena in November, scoring twice in the final 14 minutes to end Villanova's hopes for a BIG EAST championship.
St. John's defeated DePaul 2-0 in Chicago last weekend while Villanova scored in the 84th minute to earn a 1-1 deadlock against No. 20 USF at home.
"I thought our guys responded well against USF," stated VU head coach Tom Carlin. "We were able to frustrate USF at times and were right there against a team receiving national recognition. That's an encouraging sign for our program."
A Bulls goal at the 66:00 mark put Villanova into a hole but the Wildcats were able to press the attack relentlessly, eventually knotting the score off a quick re-start by Sean Sheridan that led to a Hayden Harr goal.
"That's a testament to the belief our players have in the program," Carlin states. "I kept telling them on the sidelines that we were set up for a comeback if we continued to press them. Sean made a great play on a quick re-start and I think we caught them when they were a little disorganized. Oscar Umar served a great ball in and found Hayden."
Now, VU is to encounter another challenge against a perennially ranked BIG EAST foe. This one comes outside the city of Philadelphia, where the Wildcats have not ventured since a win at Colgate on Sept. 1.
"St. John's is a well-oiled machine," says Carlin. "The personnel can change but the mindset is the same. (Coach) Dave (Masur) always has them ready and you know they have one of the top programs in the country. We will have to overcome an excellent team in a frenzied atmosphere.
"We have to stay committed to our approach and continue to play the kind of soccer we have up to this point of the season."
This is the first of two road contests for the Wildcats this week. On Saturday, Villanova visits DePaul at 2:00 p.m.
St. John's holds a 22-5-4 edge in the series against Villanova, which began in 1984. It is 13-0-1 against the `Cats at home.