Villanova Hosts American in Season Opener on Friday Afternoon
Aug. 16, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa.--Over the years the women's soccer team has been one of the most successful Villanova programs and on Friday afternoon the Wildcats kick off their 30th varsity season when they host American at 4 p.m. at the West Campus Soccer Complex.
Head coach John Byford begins his fifth season leading Villanova with a roster that is balanced and reloaded from last season. This year's Wildcats return 12 players from last year, including seven starters. Also joining the club are a group of 11 newcomers who have a chance to make an immediate impact at all positions on the field.
Leading the way for Villanova among the group of returnees are senior forward Heidi Sabatura (Lawrenceville, N.J.) and sophomore forward Stephanie Myers (Frisco, Texas). Sabatura has been a two-time All-BIG EAST selection during her career and leads all active players on the Wildcats with 60 career points (20 goals, 20 assists). Myers was a redshirt freshman last season and earned BIG EAST All-Rookie team honors after scoring seven goals and dishing out five assists to tie Sabatura for second on the team with 19 points.
Junior goalkeeper Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.) was named the BIG EAST Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year in a preseason poll of league head coaches. Kranich has been the starter in goal during each of her first two collegiate seasons and, since the end of the 2011 campaign, has gained a great deal of experience with the U.S. U-20 Women's National Team. During the early part of the 2012 collegiate season she will be a member of the U.S. roster at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Japan, which takes place from late August through early September.
Villanova has an all-time record of 15-11-3 (.568) in season openers and in recent years the Wildcats have been unbeatable in their season debuts. Dating back to 2001 the team has gone undefeated (10-0-1) in the last 11 season openers, with the tie coming in a 1-1 draw at home versus James Madison last year. Villanova is also 9-6-1 all-time when it begins the season at home.
Friday afternoon's game will also mark the first meeting since 1994 between the Wildcats and Eagles, who have played just three times previously. Villanova holds a 2-1 edge in the all-time series against American with wins in the first-ever meeting in 1991 as well as the most recent meeting in 1994. The Eagles captured their one win in the series in the only previous meeting at the West Campus Soccer Complex, 4-3 in overtime in 1993.
Admission to Friday's game is free and the game will be broadcast live on Nova Nation All-Access with veteran play-by-play announcer Nick Mantegna on the call. Fans who are not attending the game can also follow the action with live stats on Gametracker and through live in-game tweets.