Sept. 9, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Senior forward Nikki Mabery (Phoenix, Ariz.) scored all three of her team's goals to register her second career hat trick and Villanova (3-0-1) cruised to a 3-1 victory over Robert Morris (0-4) on Sunday afternoon at the West Campus Soccer Complex. The Wildcats rounded into top form offensively with a 31-8 edge in shots and a 19-0 margin in corner kicks.
Mabery scored the first two goals of the game in a span of just 24 seconds midway through the first half. In the 20th minute, she blasted a shot to the right corner after a pass from senior Melissa Murowski (Warren, N.J.) to open the scoring.
On the first possession after the goal, the Wildcats had the ball in a scramble in front of the net and Mabery one-timed the ball on the ground to make the score 2-0. Senior Kayce Blandford (Columbia, Md.) passed the ball up near the goal line and junior Nicole Coia (Simpsonville, S.C.) slid it over to Mabery in front of the goal to set up that second score.
Villanova was in complete control up 2-0 and had maintained possession throughout much of the opening period but the Colonials became the first team all season long to score on the Wildcats with their only goal of the game in the 27th minute. Kathleen Caggiano sent in a pass from the left side and Jennifer Tobar was left open directly in front of the goal. Tobar delivered the ball into the left corner of the net to make the score 2-1.
Despite owning an 18-4 shot advantage and taking 12 unanswered corner kicks in the opening period, Villanova settled for going into the intermission with just the 2-1 lead. The team picked up where it left off in the beginning of the second half and showed its intensity in the attacking third. In the 54th minute, freshman Justine Wollner (Downingtown, Pa.) crossed the ball in from the left and Mabery headed it into the net to complete the hat trick.
"Our offense had struggled a little bit and it had been said that we didn't have the personnel to be an elite offensive team," Villanova head coach Ann Clifton said. "Nikki was up to the task of proving otherwise today. She has played extremely well through the first four games and today she took a great deal of pride in shouldering the burden of leading our offense to the type of performance we had today."
Senior goalkeeper Jillian Loyden (Vineland, N.J.) made three saves in goal and sophomore Molly Williams (Hinsdale, Ill.) recorded one save while playing the final 13 minutes of the game. Loyden earned her 41st career victory.
Jessica Onufer made 10 saves for Robert Morris, which faced continual pressure from the Wildcat front line for the entire game. The 19 corner kicks taken by Villanova were a school record and fell just three short of tying the NCAA Division I record for a single game.
Villanova returns to the field at home on Tuesday afternoon for a 4 p.m. game against St. Peter's.
NOTES: Mabery recorded her only other career hat trick in a game against Robert Morris last season, won by the Wildcats 5-0 ... She is the only Villanova player to have a hat trick since Janessa Jeltema had three goals against Howard in 2002 ... Loyden moved to within 2:35 of becoming the third goalkeeper in team history to play 6,000 minutes in net ... She owns a 0.25 goals-against average this season and the Wildcats have outscored the opposition 9-1 through the first four games ... The NCAA record of 22 corner kicks in a game was set by UNC-Wilmington against Chowan on September 7, 1995.