Oct. 25, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Chicago is the next stop for the Villanova Wildcats as the 2013 BIG EAST regular season enters the home stretch of the chase to secure a berth in the 2013 conference championship next month.
The Wildcats (7-7-1 overall, 2-4-0 BIG EAST) meet DePaul (4-9-2 overall, 0-5-1 BIG EAST) Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. For Villanova, it will be a chance to quickly move past a tough 2-1 loss to Providence at home on Wednesday in double overtime.
"In this Wednesday-Saturday format, you don't have any time to get too high or too low," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. "We've worked on correcting our mistakes and have to be ready for DePaul."
This is a critical point in the regular season as teams jockey for one of the six bids to the BIG EAST Championship. The top two seeds will receive byes into the BIG EAST semifinal, set for Nov. 15 at PPL Park. The next four qualifiers will take part in games on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the home field of the No. 3 and No. 4 seed to determine which two squads from that group will qualify for the semifinals.
Villanova enters this weekend's action tied with Seton Hall for seventh place with six points. Part of the pain from Wednesday's loss is the recognition that even the single point awarded for a draw that was just 2:12 away against Providence would have helped in the scramble for the post-season.
Following their visit to meet DePaul - which dropped a 6-0 decision to Georgetown on Wednesday - the Wildcats face Xavier (8-5-2 overall, 4-2-0 BIG EAST) at home on Senior Day (Nov. 2) and close out the campaign on Nov. 8 against the Hoyas in Washington, D.C.
Marquette enters the weekend atop the BIG EAST with 16 points (5-0-1). Georgetown holds second place with 13 points (4-1-1). Providence and Xavier each has a 4-2 conference record for 12 points in a tie for third place. Creighton, which Villanova knocked off last week, presently has 10 points and a 3-2-1 league mark with Butler close behind at 3-3 and nine points.
St. John's (two points) and the Blue Demons (one point) round out the standings.
Other league matches slated for Saturday include a Creighton visit to Seton Hall; Marquette hosts Georgetown; St. John's is at Butler and Providence travels to Xavier.
The good news for the Wildcats is that they have made significant gains over the past few weeks, raising its RPI to 53 from a spot above 100 as recently as early October. Villanova held a three-game winning streak before falling to the Friars and has allowed only two goals in its last four contests.
Goalkeeper Andrew Weakly is this week's BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week and he made 10 saves against Providence. Dylan Renna, Aaron Dennis and Chris Hill have helped generate more productive scoring opportunities too while the defense in front of Weakly has been stout.
Put simply, every point over the final two weeks of the regular season is precious and the first opportunity to stockpile more comes Saturday at DePaul.