Aug. 17, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The season opener in the 30th year of varsity women's soccer for Villanova (1-0) saw a terrific effort from the Wildcats and resulted in a 2-0 victory over American (0-1) at the West Campus Soccer Complex on Friday afternoon. A pair of goals in the second half helped Villanova extend its unbeaten streak in season openers to 11-0-1 in the last 12 years.
Sophomore forward Stephanie Myers (Frisco, Texas) and freshman forward Reanna Marino (South Huntingdon, N.Y.) each found the back of the net for the Wildcats, who dominated possession of the ball to the tune of an overall 16-1 edge in shots and a 12-0 advantage in corner kicks for the afternoon.
"We came out with a lot of passion and fire to win the ball back and that had a lot to do with how the game unfolded," Villanova head coach John Byford said. "This was a good first game for us and I was happy with the way we played."
Myers opened the scoring with a terrific finish in the 48th minute and beat Eagles goalkeeper Charlene Belanger with a low shot to the left corner. Sophomore midfielder Victoria Gersh (Silver Spring, Md.) sent a through-ball past the defense to senior forward Heidi Sabatura (Lawrenceville, N.J.), who once again showed why she is the team's top playmaker.
In addition to feeding Myers for the game's first goal Sabatura also set up the second Wildcats goal in the 68th minute when she made a pass to Marino in the middle of the 18-yard box. Sabatura came into the 2012 season tied for ninth place in school history in career assists and with her two helpers today leaped into a three-way tie for seventh place.
The game-winning goal for Myers was the second of her career and she finished the day with a game-high two shots on goal. Myers attempted three shots total and Sabatura led all players with four looks at the net on an afternoon when eight different Villanova players fired off at least one shot.
In the middle of the field and along the back line the Wildcats effort was nothing short of dominant. The back line of juniors Taylor Houck (Chalfont, Pa.), Alexa Carugati (Newtown, Pa.) and Kendra Jones (Hershey, Pa.); and sophomore Kathryn Rayner (Needham, Mass.) kept the ball away from the American offense and limited the Eagles to just one shot.
The lone scoring chance for American came on an open look for Carleigh Morba in the 33rd minute but was easily stopped in front of the net by senior goalkeeper Kelsey Quinn (Mt. Airy, Md.), who notched her first career solo shutout.
Villanova is back in action on Sunday afternoon when it hosts No. 13 Maryland for a 1 p.m. tilt.