Sept. 21, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Rallying behind freshman Emily Damstrom's (Short Hills, N.J.) first career goal and the three point performance of senior Heidi Sabatura (Lawrenceville, N.J.), Villanova (4-5-2, 2-1) put together a dominating showing for the 2-0 victory over Providence (7-3-1, 2-1-0) on Friday afternoon at West Campus Soccer Complex.
With today's game, the Wildcats broke Providence's six game win streak and claimed their first victory over the Friars since October 10th, 2004. Sabatura's one goal, one assist performance also catapulted her into second place all-time at Villanova with 27 assists and eighth all-time with 71 career points. The senior forward needs just one more assist to tie for first place on the career helper list and two to become the all-time leader in Villanova history.
"Heidi is so creative, but what people forget is that she's such a hard worker. She can create from anywhere on the field," Head Coach John Byford stated.
It was that creative firepower that led to Villanova's first goal of the game at the 29 minute mark when Sabatura found Damstrom on a run to goal. Damstrom settled the Sabatura pass from inside the box and deftly evaded the Providence goalkeeper to net the first goal of her collegiate career.
"Emily made a good run and I just flicked it back to her. She made a great finish and it gave us a lot of confidence," Sabatura commented during her post-game interview.
The Wildcats seemed to settle into a rhythm following the score and controlled the flow of the game for the remainder of the half. Despite the Friars getting six shots during the first 45 minutes of play, nothing of substance came from their few opportunities on goal.
Rounding out the stanza, Villanova led PC 8-6 in shots and struck even at 2-2 in corner kicks.
Villanova remained in control of the game to begin the second half as sophomore Stephanie Myers (Frisco, Texas) opened the stanza with a blazing shot on goal nine minutes into play, forcing PC keeper Jessica Goudreault to make a diving save. Just three minutes later, the Wildcats would get a game-changing call after Providence was charged for a take down inside the box. Sabatura connected for the score with a shot to the upper right corner to put VU ahead on the Friars 2-0 with just over 30 minutes left in regulation.
Despite the score, Providence kept battling and found opportunities, but the return of Villanova's BIG EAST Preseason Co-Goalkeeper of the Year Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.) in net following her stint with the U-20 Women's National Team and a stingy VU defense led by Taylor Houck (Chalfont, Pa.), Kaitlin Hogman (Center Valley, Pa.), Kendra Jones (Hershey, Pa.) and Kathryn Rayner Needham, Mass.) kept the Friars at bay.
The Wildcats found two more chances from shots on goal by Damstrom and freshman Renee Hart (Bethesda, Md.) before sealing the shutout victory at 2-0. Defensively, Kranich collected two saves for the win while PC's Goudreault and Megan Sweeney combined for seven saves in the loss.
"It's kind of how the games go, having possession and shifts of momentum. Possession doesn't mean anything without goals and today we were able to capitalize on our chances," Byford stated. "It's all about consistency. We've been up and down this season and now we're in control of our own destiny. We have a big game on Sunday against Connecticut and each of these BIG EAST games has significance."
Sabatura continued, "I think we put a lot of pressure on Providence in the first half. Today we did a good job with on and off the ball movement and we were able to get a lot of chances on goal. It feels good early in the BIG EAST to finish games and get those points."
Villanova will look to continue their BIG EAST win streak when they host Connecticut on Sunday, September 23rd at West Campus Soccer Complex. Game time is slated for 1 p.m.