Oct. 21, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Providence scored three unanswered first-half goals to blank Villanova 3-0 in a pivotal BIG EAST match-up at Villanova Stadium this afternoon. The crucial win moves the Friars to 12-6 overall and 4-1 in the BIG EAST, while the Wildcats slide to a record of 10-5 and sit evenly at 3-3 in conference play.
With pressure to secure a BIG EAST win looming in the background, both Villanova and Providence came out this afternoon ready for a battle. The Wildcats and Friars traded shots and offensive corners in the opening minutes of play with both squads unable to capitalize on their respective early scoring opportunities. However, Providence struck first in the seventh minute of play as they were able to execute one of their four penalty corners of the first half. Senior Michalagh Stoddard ripped a shot from the top of the circle to give the Friars a quick 1-0 lead. Juniors Meghan Holden and Jessica Lane were credited with the assist.
As the game continued, Providence utilized their 1-0 advantage to gain momentum over Villanova. The Friars applied heavy pressure as their defensive backs worked the ball up their respective sidelines before sending passes to their forwards in the Wildcat defensive circle. Lane, who assisted on Providence's first goal, also played a hand in the second by sending a ball into the circle, where teammate Nellie Poulin redirected the shot past Villanova goalkeeper Maura McCormick for a 2-0 lead.
Despite an early deficit, Villanova fought back to fire off five shots and five penalty corners. However, Providence took advantage of an opportunity late in the first half as sophomore Kerianne Murphy fired a ball from the 30 yard line towards the cage, where freshman Julie Ruggieri tipped the ball into the goal extending the Friars' lead to three.
As emotions ran high in the second half, Villanova rallied to collect 10 shots and force seven penalty corners in an attempt to chip away at Providence's 3-0 lead. The Wildcats' tremendous efforts caused several scrambles in front of the goal mouth, but, Providence's stingy defense, led by sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Chamberlain, left Villanova empty-handed after 70 minutes of play.
Villanova remains at home this week as they host cross-town rival Saint Joseph's on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m.