Wildcats Head South to Duel No. 5/7 USF in BIG EAST Quarterfinals
Nov. 4, 2011
The Match-up: Red Division No. 5 seed Villanova (7-8-4 overall, 3-5-1 BIG EAST) at Red Division No. 1 seed USF (12-2-3 overall, 7-0-2 BIG EAST)
BIG EAST Championship Quarterfinal
When: Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011
Where: Corbett Stadium/Tampa, Fla./1:00 p.m.
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Villanova defeated the No. 4 seed out of the Blue Division Notre Dame 1-0 at Alumni Stadium in opening round action on Thursday evening.
USF, winners of the Red Division, earned a first round bye into the quarterfinals.
KNOW THE FOE
The Wildcats and Bulls are well acquainted with one another. On Oct. 22, USF used a pair of second half goals to down Villanova 2-1 in Tampa. Senior Kevin Garcia's first goal of the year gave VU a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute and the `Cats carried that edge into halftime. But the Bulls got goals from Dom Dwyer and Brenton Griffiths to emerge with a 2-1 victory.
Last season, the teams played a scoreless tie in the Wildcats first-ever appearance at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
FACING THE NATION'S BEST
USF enters play on Sunday ranked No. 5 nationally by the NSCAA and No. 7 by Soccer America.
The Wildcats own two recent victories over nationally ranked squads. On Oct. 19, they downed then No. 12 St. John's 3-1 on their home pitch at the West Campus Soccer Complex. Then they upended No. 18/19 Notre Dame in the first round of the BIG EAST playoffs.
FIRST FELT GOOD
Prior to Thursday evening's victory, Villanova owned an all-time mark of 0-9-2 in BIG EAST post-season action. The Wildcats tied Georgetown in both 2004 and 2005 but in each case the Hoyas advanced on penalty kicks.
"This means a lot for our program," stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin of the first post-season triumph.
DENNIS KNOCKED IN THE GAME-WINNER
Freshman Aaron Dennis began the year with a flurry, scoring three goals in the Wildcats first two games. He recorded his fourth goal of the season in a 3-0 win at Saint Joseph's on Sept. 28 but had not dented the scoring column since.
His fifth goal came at an ideal time. The freshman finished a nifty cross from the right side by sophomore Dylan Renna from nine yards out at 34:37 to give VU the only goal it would need.
Dennis now leads the Wildcats with five goals on the season.
USF owns a 4-0-1 series edge on the Wildcats since entering the BIG EAST in 2005. The draw took place last season at PPL Park.
"We are facing a very good team," stated head coach Tom Carlin, "but that's what this time of year is about. If you want to advance to Red Bull Arena, you have to execute against the top teams in the league."
UP NEXT: The victor moves on to face the winner of St. John's at West Virginia in a BIG EAST semifinal on Friday evening at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.