July 2, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Following the first official day of operation for the new BIG EAST Conference, the Villanova women's soccer team announced its schedule for the upcoming campaign on Tuesday, July 2nd. Head Coach John Byford will begin his sixth season leading the Wildcats on August 23rd when the Wildcats host Radford at the West Campus Soccer Complex for a 4pm matchup. The 2013 season welcomes both old and new foes and is highlighted by the appearance of national powerhouses both in the BIG EAST and out of conference contests.
A strong out of conference slate awaits the Wildcats at the start of the season. Villanova will warm-up with two exhibition matches against Monmouth (Aug. 12, 7 p.m.) and Bucknell (Aug. 18, 4 p.m.) before diving into the season against Radford on August 23rd. The Wildcats round out the month of August with two away contests against No. 16 Maryland (Aug. 26, 7 p.m.) and Drexel (Aug. 30, 7 p.m.).
Labor Day weekend will mark the foray into the meat of the Wildcats schedule as VU hosts Lehigh on Sunday, September 1st at 1 p.m. Villanova will trade home and away contests with James Madison (Sept. 6, 7 p.m.), Richmond (Sept. 8, 1 p.m.) La Salle (Sept. 12, TBD), St. Francis (Sept. 15, 1 p.m.) and Rutgers (Sept. 20, 4 p.m.) before beginning their BIG EAST slate at the end of the month.
There is a great deal of excitement for the new look of the BIG EAST and Villanova will open conference play against Butler and No. 12 Marquette on Thursday, September 26th and Sunday, September 29th, respectively. The new format of the league has each team meeting once during the course of the season. Additionally, Villanova will host Creighton (Oct. 17, 4 p.m.), No. 17 Georgetown (Oct. 27, 1 p.m.) and Providence (Nov. 2, Noon) in conference action at West Campus Soccer Complex while conference road trips include Xavier (Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m.), DePaul (Oct. 6, 1 p.m.), St. John's (Oct. 12, 7 p.m.) and Seton Hall (Oct. 20, 1 p.m.).
The quest for the conference championship begins on November 5th and will conclude just five days later in Milwaukee, Wis. for the all-important automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Villanova returns 10 starters and 19 letterwinners from the 2012 squad which finished the season 7-9-3 overall and earned a berth into the BIG EAST Championship for the first time since 2009. All-BIG EAST honorees Taylor Houck (Chalfont, Pa.), Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.) and Emily Damstrom (Short Hills, N.J.) return to anchor the team as they look to make an immediate impact in the new BIG EAST and earn their way back to the NCAA Tournament.