Sept. 16, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Steady pressure in the attacking third was the decisive factor in a closely contested game and Villanova (5-0-2) secured a 1-0 victory on Sunday afternoon over Temple (3-2-1) at the West Campus Soccer Complex in the first meeting between the local teams since 1998. On Alumnae Day for the women's soccer team, the first goal of the season from junior Nicole Coia (Simpsonville, S.C.) at the 53:28 mark accounted for the day's lone score.
The Wildcats held possession throughout the contest and played to a 20-3 shot advantage for the day. More importantly, Villanova put forth an aggressive offensive performance and kept the Owls on their heels for the better part of the game.
"I am really proud of our effort today," Wildcat head coach Ann Clifton said. "This was probably our most complete game of the season from start to finish and we want to continue with what we saw out there today. Friday night at Lehigh wasn't our best game and to come back from that the way we did is what this team is about. They were hitting everything out there today at the beginning; the crossbar and both goalposts but thankfully we hit the back of the net too."
After a scoreless first half, Villanova continued to show momentum early in the second half. In the 54th minute, a Temple throw-in on the right side was intercepted by junior Erin Hardiman (Galloway, N.J.), who took a hard shot that was initially blocked by an Owls defender. Coia was the first to get to the loose ball and put it into the net near the left post.
"I knew that Erin was going to get a shot off and we have worked recently on getting all our shots on frame," Coia said. "I sprinted to the goalkeeper because I knew Erin's shot would be on frame and the ball came right to me."
Temple goalkeeper Kara Williams recorded five saves for the day, including a diving stop to her right just minutes before the Wildcat goal to keep the game scoreless. Senior Kayce Blandford (Columbia, Md.) passed a ball in from near the right sideline and classmate Nikki Mabery (Phoenix, Ariz.) headed a shot towards the net. Williams came out in front of the net but Hardiman was first to the ball and shot it at the right corner of the goal. Williams dove back into position to make the save.
Senior goalkeeper Jillian Loyden (Vineland, N.J.) tied the program's all-time shutout record with her 29th career solo shutout in net for Villanova. Loyden made one save for the day and earned her fourth shutout of the year while matching the career record set by Chrissy Dolan (2000-03).
Next up for Villanova is the team's conference opener this coming Friday. The Wildcats visit Georgetown at 3 p.m. before returning home next Sunday for a non-conference game against Penn at 3 p.m.
NOTES: The Wildcats are 34-2-4 (.900) all-time against other Philadelphia Big Five teams ... The losses came to La Salle in 2000 and Saint Joseph's in 2005 ... Villanova has shut out the opposition in 20 of its last 29 games since the beginning of last season ... The team is 91-0-5 since 1999 when it scores the first goal of a game ... A post-game reception honored former Villanova players who were in attendance for the team's First Annual Alumnae Day.