March 16, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Led by sophomore Jessica Mucci's (Severna Park, Md.) career-high eight points, the Villanova Wildcats (4-3) pieced together a dominate 11-7 victory over visiting Davidson (2-4) on a snowy and rainy Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium. Classmate Jackie Froccaro (Sands Point, N.Y.) contributed a hat trick alongside Mucci as seven Wildcats posted points on the day.
"I think the conditions on the field were hard today and we played well enough to come out on top. Our defense came up big at key points that allowed us to keep our lead throughout the game," said Head Coach Julie Young following the contest. "There were times when we needed to score or come up with a caused turnover and the team did that at the right moments. It was an entire team effort."
After a closely contested first half that gave Villanova a slight 5-3 advantage at intermission, the Wildcats exploded in the final 30 minutes of play and outscored Davidson 6-4 while holding the visitors scoreless for just under 11 minutes in the second stanza. Mucci tallied three goals and two assists in 19 minutes of action during that period as the Wildcats slid ahead of Davidson for the win.
"When we were patient on attack it opened up their defense and we were able to score. We came out strong in the second half and started winning the draw control battle which allowed us to have more possessions," said Young.
Villanova got on the board quickly to begin the contest by notching three scores from Froccaro and freshmen Chelsey Henderson (West Long Branch, N.J.) and Shannon Galvin (Maplewood, N.J.) off Mucci and senior Maria Bowman (Ft. Belvoir, Va.) assists to take an early lead. Davidson found their first goal of the game from a Jean Atkinson score at the 20:09 mark to close the gap at 3-1, but Froccaro would respond just under four minutes later to give the Wildcats a 4-1 lead.
After more two goals from Davidson's Ann Fucigna, Froccaro closed out the half connecting on a free-position shot with 3:44 on the clock to give Villanova a 5-3 lead going into intermission.
The second half of play was dominated by the Wildcats as senior Annie Fallon (Shrewsbury, N.J.) found a cutting Mucci to increase the Villanova lead at 6-3 for the first goal of the half. Davidson's Emily Rademacher responded at the 22:06 mark to close the gap at 6-4 before the Wildcats went on a four-goal run with two scores from sophomore Elise Bendinelli (West Chester, Pa.) Mucci and Bowman to give Villanova a 10-4 advantage with 15:25 left to play.
Davidson, unwilling to surrender, saw two goals from Emily Cookie and Atkinson at the 12:46 and 8:35 marks to give the visitors a fighting chance at 10-6 with 8:35 on the clock, but Mucci responded with the final Wildcat goal of the contest off a Bowman assist. Fucigna's goal with 2:44 remaining wouldn't be enough to surpass the Wildcat lead as Villanova claimed their fourth win of the season, 11-7.
Defensively, senior goalkeeper Amanda Hirschfeld (Timonium, Md.) posted eight saves and five ground balls in the victory including several point-blank stops at key moments in the contest. Classmate Shawna Giust (Basking Ridge, N.J.) contributed two ground balls, four draw controls and three caused turnovers in an outstanding defensive effort.
Davidson's Jessica Melby tallied six saves in the defeat.
Today's contest concluded Villanova's out of conference schedule for the 2013 season. The Wildcats will begin BIG EAST action next weekend when they make the road trip to Marquette and Notre Dame on March 22nd and 24th. Game times are slated for 6pm and 1pm ET, respectively.