Oct. 19, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - In its return home after playing five straight games on the road the past two weeks, Villanova (8-2-6, 2-2-4 Big East) was unable to notch a game-winning goal and played to a 0-0 tie against Pittsburgh (6-8-1, 1-6-1 Big East) on Friday afternoon at the West Campus Soccer Complex.
Despite the swing of road games and two torrential downpours just prior to the start of the game, the Wildcats showed a burst of energy at the game's outset and nearly were rewarded early on with good scoring opportunities. Nine minutes into the game a shot by senior Nikki Mabery (Phoenix, Ariz.) bounced off the crossbar and a follow-up attempt was high.
Just a few minutes after that, a pair of shots following a corner kick were each blocked during a scramble inside the box. Villanova had a 13-2 edge in shots taken at halftime, although the teams returned to their benches with the game remaining scoreless.
The barrage of shots by the Wildcats continued throughout the game and Villanova eventually wound up with a 30-7 advantage in shots, including 9-0 in the two overtime periods. That margin didn't mean that the Panthers were without their own significant scoring opportunities, however.
Midway through the second period Pitt had control of the ball inside Wildcat territory for several minutes and came away with a series of dangerous shots. Laura Berbert took a corner kick in the 69th minute and eventually a shot by Stephanie Davis was turned away by senior Stacia Hartung (Rochester, N.Y.), who received credit for a team save on the play. The play was still going though, and Rachel Vecchio's rebound attempt was saved by senior goalkeeper Jillian Loyden (Vineland, N.J.).
Loyden had three saves in the game and became the 19th goalkeeper in NCAA Division I history to surpass 7,000 career minutes. She finished the game with a count of 7,087:25 for her career and ranks 16th all-time in the NCAA record book. Loyden also posted her 35th career shutout and 10th this season. She now holds sole possession of third place in BIG EAST history with 35 career solo shutouts and is two shutouts away from tying Lana Bannerman (2003-06) of West Virginia with 37.
The torrential downpours before the game yielded way to mostly dry weather during the game, but very wet field conditions persisted for the duration of the afternoon. Several possessions for each team appeared to be affected by a wet ball during the contest.
Alison Finch made five saves in net for the Panthers.
The forecast is for sunny skies and much drier weather on Sunday when Villanova hosts No. 25 West Virginia at 1 p.m.
NOTES: Villanova played to a scoreless tie for the fourth time this season ... Only the Wildcats 2003 team and the 2006 Michigan squad have had that many 0-0 results in a single-season ... The six ties this season are also the most in one year for the Wildcats ... If Loyden were to play every minute in goal of the final three Villanova games of the regular season, she would move up at least as high as 12th all-time in minutes played ... She already is the Wildcat career record holder in victories (45), shutouts (35) and minutes played (7,087:25) ... The rain and wet field washed out a halftime promotion on EPYSA Day at the West Campus Soccer Complex ... The Marple Newtown Crush were in attendance at the game as Villanova hosted youth teams from the community for the second time this season.