June 4, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - First year head coach Fran Kulas unveiled the Villanova women's soccer schedule for the upcoming 2014 season on Wednesday, June 4th. The Wildcats are set to compete against some of the toughest competition in the nation both out of conference and in the BIG EAST as they look to return to the NCAA Championship at the culmination of the season.
"This level of competition provides us with a top-level strength of schedule and simultaneously helps us prepare for our BIG EAST Conference opponents who are well-coached and play at a very high level," Kulas states. "We certainly have our work cut out for us, but the student-athletes in our program came to Villanova to play on a big stage and our 2014 schedule certainly provides those opportunities."
A strong out of conference slate awaits Villanova at the start of the year set to begin officially on Friday, August 22nd. Following two warm-up exhibition matches against 2013 NCAA Tournament teams Monmouth (Aug. 11, 4pm) and Rutgers (Aug. 16, 7pm), the Wildcats return home to the newly-renovated West Campus Soccer Complex when they host nearby rival Drexel (Aug. 22, 4pm) for the first official contest of the season.
Following the match against the Dragons, Villanova travels south a week later to face both Radford (Aug. 29, 7pm) and national powerhouse Virginia (Aug. 31, 2 pm) for a pair of games over Labor Day weekend. The Highlanders concluded their 2013 slate with a 15-3-2 overall record and advanced to the final contest of the Big South Tournament while ACC champions and third-ranked Cavaliers saw their 24-1-1 season end in the College Cup semifinal.
Two matches against in-state foes Pittsburgh (Sept. 5, 4pm) and Lehigh (Sept. 7, 1pm) take place on Friday, September 5th and Sunday, September 7th for a home and away weekend. The Wildcats face Pittsburgh for their first of three consecutive home Friday contests while the short trek to Bethlehem, Pa. awaits Villanova two days later against the Mountain Hawks. It marks the second consecutive meeting between Lehigh and Villanova while the Panthers and Wildcats reignite their rivalry following a one-year hiatus in 2013.
The meat of Villanova's non-conference September schedule is highlighted by two home matches against James Madison (Sept. 12, 4pm) and Towson (Sept. 19, 4pm) while the Wildcats travel to nearby Princeton on Sunday, September 14th (1pm). JMU concluded 2013 with a CAA Championship appearance and a 15-5-1 overall record while Princeton and Towson combined for an overall record of 15-16-5 and 3-11-1 mark in conference games.
The conclusion of Villanova's non-conference schedule is set for Sunday, September 21st when the Wildcats travel to Morgantown, W.V. to face the12th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers. The 1pm contest marks the first meeting between the two schools since October 2nd, 2011 when both squads squared off as conference rivals. The Big 12 champs advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling at Virginia Tech 1-0 to conclude the season.
Thursday, September 25th begins the BIG EAST season for Villanova as they start the first week of conference action with two away games versus Butler (Sept. 25, 7pm) and reigning BIG EAST title holders Marquette (Sept. 28, 2pm). They'll continue conference action with three home games at West Campus Soccer Complex against Xavier (Oct. 2, 4pm), DePaul (Oct. 5, 1pm) and St. John's (Oct. 12, 1pm). Villanova will recognize the October 5th contest as Breast Cancer Awareness Day while the following week will mark the Wildcats Senior Day on Sunday, October 12th.
The remainder of Villanova's regular season features away matches at Creighton (Oct. 16, 8pm), No. 20 Georgetown (Oct. 26, 1pm) and Providence (Oct. 31, 7pm) while the final home game of the season is set for Sunday, October 19th against the Seton Hall Pirates (1pm).
The quest for the conference championship begins on November 4th and will conclude just five days later for the all-important automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Villanova advanced to the first round of the BIG EAST Championship in 2013 before falling to DePaul for the second straight season in the conference tournament.
"Our coaching staff and student-athletes are extremely excited about the opportunities and challenges that our 2014 schedule provides," said Kulas. "Our goal is to return to the top of the BIG EAST Conference and put ourselves into a position where we can make a run in the NCAA Tournament. I feel that this schedule tests us consistently in every way and we look forward to the regular season I expect will prepare us for the demands that exist in post-season play."
The Wildcats return 19 letterwinners from the 2013 squad that finished the season 6-10-3 overall and 3-5-1 in the BIG EAST. Third Team All-BIG EAST honorees Katie Martin (Dallas, Texas) and Hayley Wilson (Leonardtown, Md.) return to anchor the team as they look to earn their way back to the NCAA Tournament in 2014.