Villanova, Pa. -
The Villanova Wildcats were on the brink of scoring late in the contest but couldn’t put in the equalizer as they fell to La Salle 1-0 on Sunday afternoon at Higgins Soccer Complex. Villanova drops to 3-4 on the year while the Explorer’s improve to 5-1-1 on the season.
"Frustrating result, this team really battled today and they deserved more then what we got this weekend," shared head coach Chris McLain. "La Salle is an extremely physical team which we need to learn from. We need to have a bit of that if we want to compete in the Big East. We can take a lot from this game, our team really stepped it up in the 2nd half and showed they have what it takes."
The first half saw five shots by the Explorers with only one landing on goal and saved by Emily Harris off of a corner. Villanova’s Jasmine Ruiz would have the Wildcats only shot of the first half. Both teams headed into halftime still deadlocked at zero.
La Salle found themselves on the board early in the 75th minute when Amirah Louketis fed Maci Bower who was able to get her cross shot to be just out of the reach of Harris and give the Explorers what would be the game-winning goal.
It was seconds after the restart that Ruiz was given a red card and the Wildcats played a man down for the final 15 minutes.
Villanova had perhaps the best opportunity in the 81st minute when senior captain Emily Kuefler hit a shot off a corner that was saved by the fingertips of La Salle’s keeper, Larisa Zambelli. Just minutes later Emma Firenze had an opportunity of her own to tie the game up but Zambelli was able to jump and force the ball over the crossbar and out of play.
Defensively, La Salle’s Zambelli tallied four saves in the victory while Villanova’s Harris posted two. Offensively, the Explorer’s took nine shots and place three on goal while the Wildcats had eight shot and placed four on goal.
Villanova will close out non-conference play next weekend when they host Harvard on Friday at 4 p.m. and then will travel to Drexel for a Sunday afternoon matchup.
On the upcoming weekend McLain shared, "we need to get back to the drawing board and focus on another huge weekend. Harvard and Drexel are both very well coached programs and we have to use these games to help us be ready for conference play."