BIG EAST Digital Broadcast
VILLAONVA, Pa. – There are no shortage of mileposts that will accompany Saturday’s men’s soccer match against Providence at the Higgins Soccer Complex (1:05 p.m. on the BIG EAST Digital Network with Nick Mantegna on the call and Lisa Roman with sideline reports).
Villanova celebrates Homecoming 2017 this weekend.
It is also Senior Day, with Villanova set to honor a quartet of seniors including program stalwarts Andreas Bartosinski, Christopher Bared, Lucas Hodges and Miguel Polley in an on-field ceremony prior to the game. (Fifth year seniors Max Kroschwitz and Will Steiner participated in 2016’s Senior Day ceremony.)
There is also the matter of the current BIG EAST standings, with both the Friars (1-4-2 in BIG EAST action) and the Wildcats (2-5) presently outside the six-team playoff format with two regular season games remaining.
“I think all of our guys have respect for this group of seniors, this program, and all of the guys who have come before,” stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. “My message to the team is that as a group we owe our best to this senior class and this program.”
Hodges, a native of Palos Verde, Cal, is Villanova’s leading goal scorer in 2017 (five goals, three assists, 13 points). Bartosinski, who came to VU from Germany, is a four year starter in the midfield who has contributed three goals and a pair of assists while serving as a team co-captain with junior Zach Zandi in 2017. Miami native Bared has been a starter for most of his tenure at outside back – he has added a goal and an assist this season. Polley, from West Bloomfield, Mich., led the Wildcats in scoring as a junior (20 points) and has added four points this season in spite of an ankle injury that has plagued him throughout.
Kroschwitz and Steiner are also linchpins with long records of service in their time as Wildcats. Perhaps most importantly, all six were a part of the fabric of the unit that delivered Villanova its first ever NCAA Tournament berth a season ago.
“Providence didn’t have the start they wanted and, like us, they have found themselves chasing the season a little bit,” stated Carlin. “This is a very good soccer team that has been playing well lately. They have gotten over some injuries and are grinding out results now. Craig Stewart is a great coach. Mac Steeves up top is one of the best.“This poses a great challenge for us. Providence always plays us tough and in a lot ways has been our nemesis for years. It should be a great match.”
Providence has earned wins in eight of the last nine meetings between the teams dating to 2008. Four of those encounters came in the BIG EAST Tournament, with the Friars prevailing each time. Villanova did earn a 2-1 win when these sides last met at the Higgins Soccer Complex in 2015.
“We’ve had some inconsistency and frustration at times,” Carlin says. “But the guys have continued to work hard. We talk about the next play, the next game. We can’t get caught up in the possible postseason scenarios. Providence has to be our entire focus and I have no doubt it will be.”