Nov. 5, 2013
CHICAGO, Ill. - Villanova held the offensive upper hand throughout the contest but couldn't connect for a score as the Wildcats fell 1-0 to DePaul in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship on Tuesday afternoon in Chicago, Ill. at Wish Field. With the loss, Villanova ends their season with a 6-10-3 overall record and a 3-5-1 mark in the BIG EAST.
The defeat marks the second-straight postseason loss at the hands of the Blue Demons in as many years. DePaul posted a 3-0 victory over Villanova in the first round of the 2012 conference postseason and today's win marks their third straight over the Wildcats. The win moves DePaul to 12-4-2 overall and they'll advance to face Georgetown in the semifinal contest slated for 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8th in Milwaukee, Wis.
In a physical game that featured six yellow cards, Villanova dominated the stat sheet and held momentum throughout the match. The Wildcats outshot the Blue Demons by a 19-9 margin for the contest including an 8-4 advantage in shots on goal, but DePaul would carry the one goal lead for 81 minutes to solidify the game. Sophomore Emily Damstrom (Short Hills, N.J.) led Villanova with eight shots including three on goal for the afternoon while eight Wildcats made attempts to find the equalizer.
DePaul's Elise Wyatt connected for her seventh goal of the season at the 9:31 mark when she found the back of the net from two yards out. It was just the second shot of the game but would be all that was needed for the Blue Demons. Despite the setback, Villanova immediately responded and went on to outshoot DePaul by a 9-2 margin for the rest of the half, but outstanding play by DPU goalkeeper Alejandria Godinez protected the Blue Demon lead. Godinez finished the half with four saves and increased the stop count to eight for the contest.
Following intermission, Villanova continued to build upon their momentum and saw several promising opportunities. At the 63:03 mark, sophomore Rhea Barghash (Bridgewater, N.J.) fired a shot that missed the far corner of the net and hit the post. Just seven minutes later, junior Caitlin Forte (Selbyville, Del.) launched a laser from 25 yards out towards the upper left corner of the goal, but Godinez made an outstanding save to preserve the lead. The Wildcats had two ensuing corner kicks in the 70th and 71st minutes including a header by freshman Katie Martin (Dallas, Texas), but the chances would miss just wide for the equalizer.
Villanova saw their last opportunity of the contest in the 80th minute off a corner kick from sophomore Hayley Wilson (Leonardtown, Md.) and a wide header from Damstrom, but neither connected for the score as time ran out on the Wildcats postseason hopes.
DePaul was led by Elise Wyatt's goal and four shots and Godinez's eight saves. Villanova senior goalkeeper Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.) concluded her Wildcat career with four saves in the defeat.
Despite the defeat, this afternoon's game marked the second straight year the Wildcats have earned a bid to the BIGEAST Championship Tournament and returned to the postseason. The winner of tonight's Butler-St. John's contest will meet tournament host Marquette at 7:30 p.m. CT in Milwaukee, Wis. for the other side of the championship bracket.
Today's game marked the final collegiate match for Villanova seniors Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.), Kendra Jones (Hershey, Pa.) and Taylor Houck (Chalfont, Pa.). The senior class was a part of 28 victories and helped the Wildcats return to the postseason in both 2012 and 2013. Additionally, the Class of 2014 helped Villanova to a 17-14-4 record at West Campus Soccer Complex in their careers and combined, played over 13,000 minutes on the pitch. Their success also continued off the field as they have been named BIG EAST Academic All-Stars on five occasions.