Oct. 14, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - An early Notre Dame goal was all the Irish needed to defeat Villanova 1-0 on Sunday afternoon at West Campus Soccer Complex. The Irish (11-4-2, 7-1-1), ranked 24th in the nation coming into today's match, met a relentless Villanova (6-8-3, 4-4-1) defense anchored by junior Jami Kranich's (Hamden, Conn.) season-high nine saves.
Notre Dame's Anna Gilbertson notched the game-winning goal in the 6th minute when she collected a feed inside the box that hit high inside the near post to beat Kranich.
Despite Notre Dame possessing much of the contest, the Wildcats created several late-game opportunities highlighted by freshman Emily Damstrom (Short Hills, N.J.) header in the 81st minute that was blocked in front of the net off a Hayley Wilson (Leonardstown, Md.) corner. Senior Heidi Sabatura (Lawrenceville, N.J.) also had a golden opportunity in the 80th minute when the forward forced Notre Dame goalkeeper Elyse Hight to make a high save to the far post.
Head Coach John Byford states, "Towards the end of the game we had a lot of freshmen in and had a lot of good chances. We had a great header that just missed at the end of the game. We talk about finishing chances and we just need to make the most of them. Most of our losses are one goal games. It's always a dog fight."
The Villanova defense played a stellar game and continued to stifle the Notre Dame attack, the 22nd best scoring offense in the nation, despite being outshot 23-9 for the contest. Senior Taylor Houck (Chalfont, Pa.), sophomores Kathryn Rayner (Needham, Mass.) and Kaitlin Hogman (Center Valley, Pa.) and freshman Rhea Barghash (Bridgewater, Pa.) provided a solid backline for the afternoon that suppressed nearly every one of the Irish's runs at goal.
Kranich states, "They're a good team but it's just about playing our game and not giving into theirs. The key thing is to keep working hard and stay consistent. Our back four have been playing great. We're just trying to keep positive, keep working hard. We did some really good things today."
In a match where Villanova played 10 underclassmen including six freshmen, the Wildcats saw shots from freshman Renee Hart (Bethesda, Md.), sophomores Caitlin Forte (Selbyville, Del.), Stephanie Myers (Frisco, Texas) and Victoria Gersh (Silver Spring, Md.), Damstrom and Sabatura.
For the contest, Notre Dame had five corner kicks to Villanova's three and a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal. ND's Hight collected three stops for the match while Kranich posted nine in the defeat.
"We just need to create chances and put those opportunities away. There's a good chance we'll make the BIG EAST Tournament and that is always a different season. We're ready for whatever is thrown at us," continued Byford.
The Wildcats conclude their regular season schedule this coming Friday, October 19th when they face No. 11 Georgetown at West Campus Soccer Complex. Game time is slated for 3 p.m. and will also serve as Senior Day to commemorate graduating seniors Alexa Carugati, Colleen Lineweaver, Kelsey Quinn and Heidi Sabatura.