Oct. 21, 2007
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Going up against a nationally-ranked opponent on Sunday afternoon, Villanova (8-3-6, 2-3-4 BIG EAST) produced a phenomenal defensive effort but came up empty in a 1-0 loss at the hands of No. 25 West Virginia (11-4-1, 7-1-1 BIG EAST) at the West Campus Soccer Complex. The Mountaineers scored the game's lone goal early in the second half and dealt the Wildcats their first home loss of the season.
In the 50th minute, West Virginia brought the ball into the attacking third and a scramble ensued for possession inside the box. After an initial attempt was deflected, Kim Bonilla scored to the right side of the net to account for the lone tally of the day. Teammate Ashley Banks was credited with an assist, as she touched the ball over to Bonilla when her own shot attempt was denied.
Villanova had generated some good scoring chances early in the game and then closed the game with a fury in the closing minutes. The Wildcats did not allow the Mountaineers to get a shot off in the final 13 minutes and had three chances to find an equalizer as the clock wound down. The best of those chances came just a little too late, however, as the team's only two corner kicks of the day were awarded in the final 30 seconds of play.
Senior goalkeeper Jillian Loyden (Vineland, N.J.) matched a season high with eight saves, stopping four shots in each half. The Wildcats back line of defense played at a high level from start to finish, with central defenders Kelly Eagan (St. James, N.Y.) and Laura Sylvester (Broomall, Pa.) each playing key roles.
On the offensive end, Villanova picked up its attack when needed and took 14 shots in the game, forcing true freshman goalkeeper Kerri Butler to make three saves for West Virginia. Senior Melissa Murowski (Warren, N.J.) had four shots and sophomore Jessica Carnevale (Princeton, N.J.) three for the Wildcats, while senior Stacia Hartung (Rochester, N.Y.) had an outstanding game creating scoring chances for the team.
The goal by Bonilla was her fifth of the season and came on the first shot of the second half by the Mountaineers. West Virginia came close to adding an insurance goal on a couple of occasions in the succeeding minutes but each time was turned away by a steady Villanova defense.
Banks and freshman Megan Mischler each took a game-high six shots for the Mountaineers.
Villanova has two regular season games remaining, each of which will have postseason implications. The Wildcats are fighting for a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament among a crowded field of teams in the middle of the league's National Division. The team hosts Louisville this coming Friday at 4 p.m. and then takes on Cincinnati at 1 p.m. next Sunday.