Sep 1, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova started strong and never looked back as the Wildcats put on a dominate show of possession-style soccer for the 2-0 victory over Lehigh on Sunday afternoon. A pair of freshman in Katie Martin (Dallas, Texas) and Caroline Brown (Raleigh, N.C.) netted scores for the Wildcats as they helped propel Villanova to their first win of the 2013 season at West Campus Soccer Complex.
Head Coach John Byford states, "[The win] came from us using good possession. We played much better today. We put together a good 90 minutes and after a three-game week it feels good to get our first win of the season."
Villanova outshot Lehigh by a 12-1 margin in the first half and 20-7 for the contest while having several excellent looks on goal for the afternoon. Senior goalkeeper Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.) posted four saves in the win and notched the 200th stop of her career during the match. It also marked the end of a three-game week for Villanova where they concluded the seven-day stretch with a 1-1-1 record. For the season, the Wildcats improved to 1-1-2 while Lehigh fell to 0-2-0.
"It feels awesome. We've been pushing and pushing and it feels good to finish a game with a win," said Martin following the game. "Our coaches emphasize crashing the ball after passes and kicks and this time I was just in the right place at the right time. Being a freshman, I'm really excited to be able to contribute. A lot of these girls are bigger and stronger and have more experience, but I'm doing everything that I can to be a factor."
Martin certainly has been a factor for Villanova and after four games leads the team in both goals and points with three scores and an assist. She had another chance to add to her point total in the 18th minute when Villanova found themselves with a golden opportunity and was awarded with a direct kick just outside the 18. Sophomore Emily Damstrom (Short Hills, N.J.) took a low-angle shot to the left of the Lehigh wall, and after being blocked and deflected by the Mountain Hawk defense Martin was in the right place at the right time and put a low shot to the far post to give Villanova the early lead.
Coming out of the locker room for the second stanza, the Wildcats continued to dominate the Mountain Hawks and had several chances. In the 55th minute junior Victoria Gersh (Silver Spring, Md.) hit a great shot to the far post to beat Lehigh goalkeeper Ashley Blanks, but the Lehigh defense notched a team save to keep it off the goal line.
Villanova would capitalize 20 minutes later off a corner kick when junior Caitlin Forte (Selbyville, Del.) found an open Brown to finish with a header to the near post to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Lehigh began to find their stride towards the latter half of the stanza and also had solid looks. Kranich made a spectacular save and touched a high-angle shot over the crossbar to keep the Wildcat lead. With time winding down, Lehigh's Darby Wiegand had a chance with two seconds remaining in regulation but struck the ball directly at Kranich to end the Mountain Hawk advance.
The Wildcats were able to mix and match personnel throughout the day due to the extreme heat and humidity as 19 players saw game action.
Villanova will be back in action in just five short days when they make the trek to Harrisonburg, Va. to face James Madison University on Friday night. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. The team will return home to Villanova's West Campus Soccer Complex a week from today when they host Richmond at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8th.