No. 2 'Cuse Tops 'Cats in Conference Opener
Sept. 14, 2012
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Villanova (4-3) fell to No. 2 Syracuse (6-0) in their first BIG EAST contest of the season 5-2 on Friday afternoon at J.S. Coyne Stadium. This is the second-consecutive top five opponent the Wildcats have faced since last Sunday when they were shutout by No. 1 UNC.
The Orange got off to a quick start and opened the first half with three penalty corners in the first ten minutes. Villanova's defense shut down all three attempts and goalkeeper Alex Diekmann saved three blasts from Syracuse's attack line. However, Syracuse found an opening in the 11th minute when Lauren Brooks got the ball off a rebound in front and tallied the first score for the Orange, giving them the early 1-0 lead.
Syracuse would end the half with a 4-0 advantage as Kelsey Millman and Leonie Geyer added goals and Brooks saw a second score before half-time with a tipped in shot off the left post.
Villanova had not given up their fight for a conference victory in the second half. They came out strong and in the 36th minute, Jessica Swoboda found Leah High in the middle of the circle to put a goal past Leann Stiver, allowing the Wildcats to stay in the game. The goal marked High's third goal in two seasons versus the Orange. She now has a point in three of her last four contests. The assist was Swoboda's third of the season.
Geyer would score her second goal of the game and the game-winner to give the Orange their fifth and final goal of the game. With ten minutes left in the half, the Wildcats would strike again when Olivia Maggitti sent a long-lead pass that Swoboda would tip into the cage. Despite Villanova's second half efforts, they would come up short and the Orange took the 5-2 win.
Villanova's defense made huge strides to hold back Syracuse's forceful front line as they fended off almost all of Syracuse's 11 corner play opportunities. Diekmann recorded 14 saves on the game, a season and career-high for the junior goaltender. She has now registered 51 saves this season. Syracuse goalie Leann Stiver had one save on the game.
Syracuse proved they are unstoppable at home as they extended their home-winning streak at J.S. Coyne Stadium to 31-0 dating back to Sept. 2009. The Wildcats are now 7-21-0 all-time when facing the Orange. Villanova will hopefully get a chance to seek revenge on the Orange in post-season play.
The Wildcats finish out the road trip back at J.S. Coyne Stadium tomorrow, Sept. 15th at noon against Kent State.