Kaitlin Ryan Emerging as Potent Scoring Threat for Wildcats
Sept. 13, 2008
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Whatever it takes to win. That seems to be the Villanova philosophy this season, at least if back-to-back rallies from two-goal deficits in the second half for 3-2 victories can be counted as evidence. The Wildcats have been getting whatever it takes so far this season and have won the first six games of the year for the third time in program history.
The offensive production for Villanova - multiple goals in all six games and an average of 3.5 goals per game - has come from a variety of sources. There is senior midfielder Erin Hardiman (Galloway, N.J.) with a team-high 14 points (three goals, eight assists), who had at least one point in each of the first five games of the season and entered the weekend leading the nation in assists. There are five players with at least three goals and 12 who have at least one goal or assist.
In the three most recent games, however, the contributions of freshman Kaitlin Ryan (Wayne, N.J.) are what stand out as most significant for the Wildcats. Ryan has scored goals in four straight games and now leads the team with five tallies for the season. She also has three helpers and with 13 total points is just one behind Hardiman for the team lead.
Of the four goals that Ryan has scored in the last three games, two have tied the game and two have been game-winners. That includes a header off of a rebound just 36 seconds into the second overtime period on September 5 which lifted Villanova to a 3-2 triumph over San Diego State. In the come-from-behind win over Penn on Friday night, Ryan headed in the game-tying goal with 15:59 to play and then delivered the game-winner with 10:34 remaining.
Ryan has been remarkably efficient also, scoring on five of her six shots on goal and averaging a score every 43.8 minutes played. She has logged 219 minutes on the season, playing in five of the Wildcats first six games.
Villanova entered this season with the 30th-ranked recruiting class in the nation and is receiving immediate dividends from its six freshmen. Already this season the Wildcats have had all six first-year players in a game at the same time, while the freshmen have combined for nine goals and five assists. Megan Verdeur (Levittown, Pa.) had two goals in the season opener against UMBC and another in the win over San Diego State.
And despite the fact that the defense has allowed multiple goals in three straight games, opposing teams are finding out that the traditionally dominant Villanova back line is still plenty capable. After the Quakers scored two minutes into the second half on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead, they did not manage another shot in the final 42:52 of the contest. Junior goalkeeper Molly Williams (Hinsdale, Ill.), a regular starter for the first time in her collegiate career, has played every minute in net through the first six games and owns a 1.14 goals-against average. Williams has made 20 saves and posted her first career solo shutouts in wins over UMBC and Vermont.
The Wildcats come up against a Hofstra team on Sunday that will be raring to go after suffering a 2-1 loss to East Carolina on Friday night. Sunday afternoon's game will be the first ever between the programs.
About Hofstra: The Pride reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season after winning the Colonial Athletic Association title and had defeated Columbia and Princeton before the setback to the Pirates. Hofstra began the season with losses to nationally-ranked Connecticut and Penn State. Overall, the Pride have been outscored 7-4 in their 2-3 start to the season. Tiffany Yovino leads the team with two goals and an assist, while Krystal Robens and Krysten Farriella have split time in goal. Robens is 2-2 with a 1.33 goals-against average in four starts (270 minutes) and Farriella is 0-1 with a 1.50 GAA in three games, including one start and 180 minutes.
CAA Play: The last time Villanova faced a team from the Colonial Athletic Association was last season, when it defeated Virginia Commonwealth 3-0 on West Campus. The CAA is home to several traditionally strong programs in the region however, and the Wildcats are only 13-22-3 all-time against the teams that currently make up the league. George Mason, James Madison and William & Mary are among the teams with a history of success in the league and Villanova has gone 3-21-1 against those teams. Just three of those 25 meetings have come in the last 10 years and none since 2003.
Historic Feats: From 1999-2007, the Wildcats were 2-29-4 in games they trailed at halftime. In 2008, Villanova is 2-0 in such games. The ability to come from behind in games has allowed the team to win three straight games in which it has allowed multiple goals for the first time in program history. The Wildcats have also scored multiple goals in a game in six straight outings, matching the team record set in 1983 and matched in 1993. Even more impressive, Villanova has scored at least three goals in four consecutive games for the first time since September 15-October 1, 1985.
On This Date: September 14 has generally been a good day for Villanova, as the team is 5-1-2 on the date. The wins include triumphs over Virginia and Penn State, programs that the Wildcats are a combined 4-10-2 against all-time. In 1985, Villanova blanked Virginia 1-0 in the first game of the George Washington Tournament on a second half goal by Mary Burns. The teams also met on this date at the Cavaliers home tournament in 1996 and the Wildcats were dealt a 6-0 loss.
Before most conferences started play or added women's soccer as a sport, Adelphi (N.Y.) was a regional power that Villanova played six games against early in its history. The Wildcats went 0-3-3 in these games with the last meeting ending in a 2-2 tie on this date in 1988.
Villanova defeated Penn State on this date in 1997, the last time the Wildcats have beaten the Nittany Lions. Most recently, the Wildcats played to a 1-1 tie at Lehigh in a Friday night game last season. Rachel Schuyler scored with 5:54 left in regulation to knot the score and force overtime.
Up Next: Villanova opens conference play next Friday when it hosts Georgetown at 4 p.m. from the West Campus Soccer Complex.
Kickoff: 3:30 PM