Nov. 3, 2011
The matchup: Red Division No. 5 seed Villanova (6-8-4 overall, 3-5-1 BIG EAST) meets Blue Division No. 4 seed Notre Dame (9-4-4 overall, 5-3-1 BIG EAST) in the first round of the 2011 BIG EAST Championship.
When: Thursday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Notre Dame, Ind.
Next: The survivor of this match advances to a quarterfinal date at USF on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Semifinals and Finals: The BIG EAST Championship semifinal and finals are set for Nov. 11 and 13 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
There was no more impactful issue for the Wildcats in 2011 than injuries. It actually began towards the close of 2010. Dylan Renna, the team's scoring leader in 2010 and a third team All-BIG EAST selection, was bothered by a hip injury that required surgery following the season. He underwent a second hip surgery in the spring and missed the season's first three games before returning to action.
Renna returned to the lineup and still finished as the Wildcats top scorer with three goals and five assists for 11 points. In July, Villanova lost starting goalkeeper Chris Bresnahan for the season when he underwent hip surgery. Bresnahan had started 56 of VU's 57 games during his first three seasons in the program.
Senior center back Chris Christian, who missed all but two games in 2010 after suffering a torn ACL in his knee, returned to the lineup for the season opener. Then, after starting the first seven games of 2011, he reinjured the knee and is done for the season.
SEARCHING FOR THE FIRST
This is Villanova's fifth consecutive appearance in the BIG EAST post-season and marks the eighth time in the last nine years the Wildcats have qualified for the playoffs.
However, Villlanova has yet to advance.
In 2004 and 2005, the Wildcats and
Georgetown were tied after two overtimes. In
each instance, the Hoyas advanced on
VU fell at West Virginia in 2007 and has been eliminated by Providence in each of the last three seasons.
This is the first time Villanova has faced Notre Dame in the post-season.
EARLY LEADS HAVE BEEN A BOOST
A common thread in all six of Villanova's wins this season is that the Wildcats have scored first in each of those games.
VU is 6-3-1 in 2011 when scoring first, 0-5-1 when its opponent scores first. It played a pair of scoreless draws.
The Wildcats have leaned on a balanced attack in 2011. Renna sets the scoring pace with 11 points followed by freshmen Aaron Dennis (four goals, one assist), juniors Kyle Soroka (four goals, eight points) and Emerson Lawrence (four goals, eight points) and freshman Oscar Umar (two goals, four assists).
Senior John Fogarty has had a solid year in goal, logging 1720:06 minutes, posting six shutouts and an 0.99 goals against average.