VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Wildcats' (4-1) earned their second consecutive home-win with a 2-1 victory over the St. Francis Red Flash (3-2) under the lights of Villanova Stadium Friday night. Goals from Jessica Swoboda and Kayla Kenney gave Villanova the advantage on the scoreboard, but it was the work of the `Cats' midfield and defensive lines that stopped the Red Flash from getting in the circle.
St. Francis gained control of the ball early in the first period and kept Villanova's midfield hard at work keeping the ball from getting into their defensive circle. With only four minutes into the game, the Red Flash were granted a penalty stroke and Tia Dudukovich slipped the ball past Alex Diekmann to put St. Francis up 1-0.
The Wildcats came back at the Red Flash aggressive after the first score. Midfielder Keira Zambon continuously stepped onto the ball intercepting and deflecting passes from St. Francis' attack line. Villanova fought hard in the circle blasting shots onto the pads of Red Flash goalie Katelyn Vitali who would end the contest with three saves.
Villanova finally got their chance to strike back in the 15th minute when Leah High rebounded her own shot and found Jessica Swoboda to tie the game up at 1-1. High's assist was her second of the season. The forward is now riding a two-game point streak and she has notched a point in three of the five games she has played this season. Swoboda's goal was her first this year and a much anticipated goal from the sophomore who has registered a team-high 28 shots this season.
Villanova held onto possession of the ball fighting to grab the lead before halftime. Zambon found the ball off a failed Wildcat corner attempt and fed freshman Kayla Kenney for a sweet score to the back of the cage with two minutes to spare in the half. Kenney now leads the team with three goals and seven points this season.
St. Francis came back hungry in the second half as they outshot Villanova 6-4 and had the penalty corner advantage 6-3. However, the Wildcat defense held the Red Flash back as Kristen Davila and Ann Romanowski kept the ball from reaching Alex Diekmann's pads. Diekmann managed to save three shots on goal from St. Francis through both periods. The Red Flash had their final opportunity on a corner with 0:00 left on the clock, but the Wildcat defense force a foul and ended the game with their second-victory at home and a 2-1 win.
The Wildcats outshot St. Francis 12-8 through both periods; they now have outshot their opponents this season 79-59. Villanova is now 2-1 when the other team has the first goal and 3-0 when leading after the first period.
Villanova will next head to Newark, Del. to face #1 ranked UNC for a tough contest Sunday afternoon at noon.