Sept. 14, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Pressing furiously to tie the game after giving up the first goal of the contest, Villanova (4-0-2) tied the game on a goal from freshman Rachel Schuyler (Cheshire, Conn.) in the 84th minute to force overtime and an eventual 1-1 draw on Friday evening against Lehigh (3-1-1) at the Ulrich Sports Complex.
The Wildcats had trailed 1-0 from the 55th minute on but netted the goal that kept them unbeaten on the season with just 5:51 remaining in regulation. Senior Nikki Mabery (Phoenix, Ariz.) took an initial shot after a corner kick that was saved and Schuyler collected the loose ball and directed it to the left corner of the net to tie the game.
Villanova owned a 15-10 shot advantage for the game, including a 4-1 margin in the two extra periods. Midway through the second overtime, junior Kristen Verbit (Newtown, Pa.) fired a shot from 22 yards out that banked off the crossbar. With under two minutes remaining in the period, Mabery was in position for a golden scoring opportunity on the right side of the net, but Mountain Hawk goalkeeper Lauren Mains made a timely save to preserve the tie.
Both teams had scoring opportunities during the scoreless first half of the game, a period that was marked by the two sides trading possessions deep inside each other's territory. Lehigh struck first in the second half, when Jen Fetsick scored at the 54:47 mark to open the scoring. Melissa Montalvo slid a pass around a Wildcat defender to Fetsick, who had room to take a shot from just outside the box. Her shot sailed into the upper left corner of the net and was her second goal of the season.
Senior goalkeeper Jillian Loyden (Vineland, N.J.) made four saves for Villanova and, as usual, came up with numerous stops in critical situations before the opposition had the chance to take a shot. In the first overtime period, Loyden made a headfirst dive out in front of the goal to swipe the ball away from a Mountain Hawk forward.
In the 12th minute of the game, Lehigh generated back-to-back corner kicks but came away empty each time. The first of the corners was the first allowed by Villanova in a span of 210 minutes going back to the first overtime period against Princeton last Friday. Since that attempt by the Tigers, the Wildcats had generated 24 straight corner kicks without allowing one to the opposition. This evening's game ended with a 4-3 corner margin in Villanova favor.
Villanova returns home on Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. game against Temple. This weekend is Parents' Weekend on campus and Sunday's game will also be the center point of Alumnae Weekend for the women's soccer team. A reception held on West Campus following the game will honor the former Wildcat players in attendance at the game.
NOTES: Villanova ended a string of five straight losses in games where the opponent scored the first goal ... The stretch of games dated to the end of the 2005 season ... Since 1997, the Wildcats are just 13-55-8 (.230) when the opposing team nets the first goal ... Conversely, Villanova is 114-3-7 (.948) when it scores first and is undefeated in its last 95 games (90-0-5) since 1999 when getting the game's first goal ... The Wildcats are 6-1-1 in the all-time series against Lehigh, although 0-1-1 in the last two meetings ... The Mountain Hawks claimed a 1-0 victory at the West Campus Soccer Complex in 2005 ... The first game in the all-time series came in Villanova's inaugural season in 1983 ... The Wildcats won that game 8-0.