Oct. 26, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The task before the Villanova Wildcats this weekend is direct. It begins with a victory in Saturday's regular season home finale against Pitt at noon at the Villanova Soccer Complex (Nova Nation All-Access Pass). Anything less means that they are likely to be on the outside of the BIG EAST Championship chase that begins next week.
"We know," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin, "that we need to win it."
The Wildcats, who have been near the top of the Red Division standings in the BIG EAST for much of the season, enter Saturday's match with a 10-5-2 overall mark, 2-3-2 in conference play. They enter the action this weekend with eight points and currently sit in seventh place in the Red Division. The first five teams in the Red Division and Blue Division receive bids to the BIG EAST playoffs. Opening round matches will be held next Wednesday with the top three teams in each Division receiving byes into the quarterfinals.
In short, VU very much needs the three points available on Saturday afternoon. A victory would not guarantee a playoff berth - the Wildcats will need some help to do that - but could put them on the cusp of one depending on the outcome of other games in the Red Division this weekend.
"We are taking a business-like approach to this," Carlin stated. "We'll be back at home and it will be Senior Day so we need to be focused on the task in front of us. That is all we can control."
Of course, Pitt has designs of its own on Saturday's match. The Panthers bring a 6-8-2 overall mark with them into the match and are 0-7-0 in the BIG EAST.
"Some people might fall into the trap of assuming Pitt isn't a good team because of where they are in the standings," Carlin states. "We know they are a good team and are going to challenge us. We expect a battle."
Prior to the game Villanova will honor eight seniors who will make their final regular season home appearance on West Campus. The group includes injured goalkeeper Chris Bresnahan, starting goalkeeper John Fogarty, midfielder Emerson Lawrence, center back Kyle McCarthy, midfielder Ryan Quane, forward/midfielder Kyle Soroka, forward Alec Weiss, and outside back Ryan Whalen. Together the group has combined for 399 career starts over the last five seasons entering Saturday's contest.
"This was my first recruiting class as the Villanova head coach and it's been the heart and soul of our program over the last four years," Carlin says. "As freshmen, four of them started and the amount of time and leadership they have given this program will always be remembered. They have done well in school and really been model Villanova students.
"We are sad to see them go but look forward to continuing these relationships over the course of their lives. We're just trying to keep it going for them by getting a win and finding our way into the playoffs."
The quest begins Saturday at noon on West Campus.