Wildcats Have Battled the Elements in Opening Weeks of Season
Sept. 13, 2009
VILLANOVA, Pa.--The original forecast for a sunny day this past Friday turned into an outlook for rain which eventually became steady rainfall throughout the afternoon. Such has been the luck early in the season for Villanova - which has had rain for at least part of the day for all four home games this season. The inclement weather on Friday forced the Wildcats game against Vermont to be moved to a turf field at Saint Joseph's University.
The stable playing surface at Finnesey Field did provide a bit of a break for Villanova on Friday, as the fast pace of play on the wet turn fed into the team's preference for an aggressive offensive style of play. The Wildcats came out firing against the Catamount and took 10 shots in the opening 10 minutes of the contest, eventually producing a 35-10 shot advantage in a 2-1, double-overtime victory.
Villanova can hopefully look forward to drier and warmer weather on Sunday afternoon when it takes on Delaware because, weather aside, it has been smooth sailing for the Wildcats over the last three weeks. The team is undefeated through the first six games with a schedule that has included opponents from the ACC (Virginia Tech) and Big 12 (Nebraska), two leagues that rank right up there with the BIG EAST among the premier women's soccer conferences in the nation.
In the first six games of the season, Villanova has scored at least one goal in 11 of the 12 halves it has played. The team has also netted a pair of game-winning goals in double overtime, the 10th and 11th wins in double overtime or later in school history.
The steady offensive production has been at the forefront of a stronger and deeper roster in 2009. The Wildcats have gotten contributions from a number of players - seven different players each scored one goal in road games against Davidson and Charlotte - while counting on consistent play from its top scoring threats. Sophomore forward Katie Ryan (Wayne, N.J.) has at least one point in all six games thus far, including one or more goals in five of the six games. Her tally in the second extra period against Vermont was her second game-winning goal of the season and fifth of her career.
Villanova has also enjoyed the benefit of playing with a lead for the most part. They have trailed just once in a game all season long, when Nebraska grabbed a 2-1 lead in the second half on August 30. The Wildcats tied that game with less than nine seconds remaining in regulation and eventually settled for a 2-2 draw. Scoring first is a near certain recipe for success for Villanova, which is 110-1-6 (.966) since 1999 when recording a game's first goal.
Sunday's game against the Blue Hens will mark the first meeting between the Wildcats and Delaware since 1998. It is also the penultimate non-conference game of the regular season for Villanova, which opens BIG EAST play next Friday at Georgetown. Just one remaining non-conference opponent, Fordham, will be on the schedule following Sunday's contest.
About Delaware: The Blue Hens have not surrendered a goal to the opposition through three games, having notched shutout victories over Binghamton (3-0) and Providence (1-0) ahead of a scoreless tie against Saint Joseph's last Sunday afternoon. The draw against the Hawks was a strong defensive affair on both sides, with the Hawks owning a slim 10-9 edge in shots. Delaware goalkeeper Annie Bevan made three of her five saves in overtime to keep the game scoreless. She has made 11 saves in the first three games. On the offensive end, four different players each have one goal for the Blue Hens. Senior forward Caitlyn Germain is the team's leading scorer with four points (one goal, two assists).
Series History: Villanova leads the all-time series with the Blue Hens by a 5-1-2 margin, though the teams haven't played since the Wildcats tallied a 2-1 overtime victory at Delaware in 1998. The first game in the series came back in 1984 - Villanova's second season as a varsity sport - when the Wildcats tallied a 4-0 win. The one victory for the Blue Hens was a 3-1 decision in Newark in 1996.
Villanova Head Coach John Byford: 2nd Season at Villanova (16-7-2, .680); 7th Overall (64-46-10, .575)
Delaware Head Coach Scott Grzenda: 20th Season at Delaware (182-146-27, .551); 20th Overall (182-146-27, .551)
Notes: After just 24 collegiate games, Ryan is Villanova's active leading goal scorer with 14 career tallies ... Her 34 total points (14 goals, six assists) are second among current players to senior midfielder Erin Byrnes (Sayville, N.Y.), who has 36 career points (12 goals, 12 assists) ... All three goals in Friday's 2-1 victory over the Catamount were scored in the final 4:30 of regulation and overtime ... The game was the first this season in which Villanova did not score a first half goal ... The Wildcats still are outscoring the opposition 8-0 before halftime.
On This Date: Villanova has gone 5-2-1 all-time on September 13, most recently picking up a 1-0 win at Towson in 2002. The Wildcats played on this date three straight years from 1994-96, picking up a pair of wins over Penn and a victory against George Washington in that span. In 1995, Debbie Pickrel scored one of her two goals for the season with 1:24 left in the second overtime of a 2-1 victory against the Quakers. One year later, Kathleen Roman and Maura McGhee each scored twice in a 4-3 shootout over the Colonials. In 272 games since that contest, Villanova has not produced a game in which it allowed three goals and won the game.
Up Next: Villanova opens regular season BIG EAST play on Friday afternoon with a 3 p.m. game at Georgetown.
Kickoff: 1:00 PM
Nova Nation All-Access Package: Live streaming audio and video during the game (visit www.villanova.com for complete details)