Oct. 12, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - It was a tale of two halves as the Villanova women's soccer team (6-7-3, 4-3-1) battled to a 0-0 draw against DePaul (8-7-2, 3-4-1) at West Campus Soccer Complex on Friday afternoon. With strong wind gusts and chilly temperatures that dipped into the 40's, neither the Wildcats or Blue Demons could find the game-winning goal in an important BIG EAST matchup as Villanova played their sixth overtime contest of the season.
Villanova dominated the second half and overtime periods and had several good looking opportunities on net, but couldn't find the winning touch on the afternoon. With the regular season winding down the Wildcats came away with an all-important point and currently sit in third place with 13 points in the BIG EAST National Division with just two games remaining before the start of the BIG EAST Championship.
Head Coach John Byford states, "DePaul is tough to break down, they do just enough at times to disrupt the offense and take you out of your game." He continued, "We had a big advantage with the wind at our back in the second half. You can be a little more adventurous with that strong a wind but you can't put too many numbers forward to sacrifice the defense."
It was with that second half wind that Villanova seemed to find their footing and challenge the Blue Demon defense. VU outshot DePaul by a 10-3 margin in the second stanza while nine different Wildcats took chances on goal. Senior Taylor Houck (Chalfont, Pa.), who's been key on Villanova set pieces this season, had a golden opportunity in the 81st minute that forced DePaul keeper Megan Pyrz to make a high save. Freshman Emily Damstrom (Short Hills, N.J.) and sophomore Victoria Gersh (Silver Spring, Md.) each had decent looks at goal in the 73rd and 85th minutes, respectively, when both took advantage of loose balls in front of the net. Like many of Villanova's chances on the afternoon, Gersh's shot missed just wide while Damstrom's look forced Pryz to make another save to keep DePaul alive.
The Wildcats dominated both in possession and shots on goal in the final 20 minutes. Junior goalkeeper Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.) made another spectacular save on the season in the 97th minute when DePaul's Sara Brathwaite took a point-blank shot on net that forced Kranich to make a diving save and knock the ball out of bounds.
Houck states, "Jami's good for big saves. She's such a good goalkeeper and that save in overtime really changed the momentum when she came off her line to make a great save."
Without finding the game winner, Villanova headed into the second overtime period with a renewed energy and outshot the Blue Demons by a 4-0 margin. Senior Heidi Sabatura (Lawrenceville, N.J.), who had created several scoring chances for the Wildcats all afternoon, had a great look on net in the 106th minute while freshman Rhea Barghash (Bridgewater, N.J.) had the final shot on goal for the day but both looks were saved by Pyrz.
"It was important to keep zeros on the board defensively. We had hoped for a little more offensively but glad to at least come away with one point," said Houck.
The Wildcats outshot the Blue Demons by a 19-10 margin on the day while DePaul posted a 7-4 advantage in corner kicks. Kaitlin Hogman (Center Valley, Pa.), Stephanie Myers (Frisco, Texas), Hayley Wilson (Leonardstown, Md.), Reanna Marino (Massapequa, N.Y.), Barghash, Damstrom, Houck, Sabatura and Gersh all had shots for the match.
Defensively, Pyrz captured 11 saves on the afternoon while VU's Kranich posted three on the day, including two during the first overtime period.
The Wildcats will look to rebound with a victory when they take on No. 24 Notre Dame this Sunday, October 14th. Game time is slated for Noon at West Campus Soccer Complex.