Wildcats Fall to Providence, 1-0, Clinch Playoff Berth on Final Day of Regular Season
Nov. 2, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Despite a 1-0 loss in the final game of the regular season Villanova (6-9-3, 3-5-1 BIG EAST) still clinched a berth in the BIG EAST Championship and will await the determination of the final seeds for the conference tournament. Saturday afternoon was Senior Day at the West Campus Soccer Complex and the Wildcats were defeated by Providence (6-9-3, 3-6 BIG EAST) in front of a crowd of 611 on campus.
The only goal of the game was scored in the 25th minute by the Friars, who came out of the gates with a great deal of energy and outshot Villanova by a 10-3 margin in the first half. In the 25th minute a foul call against the Wildcats led to a Providence direct kick and Catherine Zimmerman finished the play with a shot that bounced into the net at the 24:21 mark. Amanda Webster took the direct kick and delivered it to Zimmerman, who scored her seventh goal of the season.
After the goal was scored the Friars continued to put heavy pressure on the Villanova defense and managed four unanswered shots in the next seven minutes. Two of those were wide of the net and two were saved by Wildcats senior goalkeeper Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.), who wound up making eight saves for the day.
In the second half Villanova pressed furiously for an equalizer and took 10 of its 13 shots in the final 45 minutes. Providence goalkeeper Megan Sweeney entered the game in the fifth minute and made six of her seven saves in the second half to preserve the victory. Sophomore midfielder Hayley Wilson (Leonardtown, Md.) had a team-high four shots for the Wildcats and senior defender Taylor Houck (Chalfont, Pa.) finished the game with two shots on goal.
The push by Villanova to try and tie the game literally went down to the final seconds. Junior midfielder Caitlin Forte (Selbyville, Del.) took a corner kick with less than two minutes to play and junior defender Kathryn Rayner (Needham, Mass.) took a header shot that went high of the net with 1:36 left. In the final minute of play a header by junior midfielder Amanda Penkrot (Wilmington, Del.) was wide with 24 seconds remaining.
Webster led the Friars with six shots. Providence finished the game with a 17-13 edge in shots and a 7-5 advantage in corner kicks.
The final regular season games in the BIG EAST are this evening and the six-team playoff field for next week's conference tournament will be finalized following the conclusion of play. This will be the second straight playoff berth for the Wildcats, who finished with 10 points in the regular season conference standings (3-5-1).
Prior to the game Villanova honored its three graduating seniors in Kranich, Houck and midfielder Kendra Jones (Hershey, Pa.).