Villanova Earns MAAC Championship Berth
April 14, 2013
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - By virtue of its thrilling 11-10 overtime win against Siena in the final regular season game, the Villanova Wildcats earned a berth in the 2013 MAAC Championships for the second consecutive season. The Wildcats will be the No. 4 seed and will play No. 1 seed Wagner on Saturday, April 27, at 1 p.m. The conference tournament will be played in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on the campus of Marist College.
"It was a great team win versus Siena today. Our goal from the beginning of the year was to qualify for the conference tournament. We have done that today for the second year in a row and I am really proud of the way the team has played throughout the conference schedule," said head coach Damon Newman. "We overcame some tough losses this season, but we have been consistently led by our senior class both in and out of the pool. Contributions from the underclassmen have also fueled our fourth place seed heading into the MAAC Championships."
Entering play this afternoon against Siena, the final spot in the MAAC postseason tournament was at stake. The scenario for Villanova to earn the berth included a win or a loss by two goals or less. A Siena victory by more than two goals would give the Saints the final spot in the conference tournament.
Villanova controlled the early going in the Siena contest. The Wildcats received two first period goals from senior Julia Penkal (Harleysville, Pa.) and a score from freshman Sarina Shibata (Honolulu, Hawaii) to take a 3-1 advantage after the first stanza.
After Siena's Jacquelyn Verdon scored to cut the Wildcat lead to 3-2, Shibata scored again to give Villanova a 4-2 advantage. Melanie Boehrig tallied a goal for Siena with 3:36 left in the first half and the Wildcats went to intermission with a 4-3 lead.
Shibata and freshman Naomi Ng (Kapolei, Hawaii) tallied back-to-back goals and Villanova owned a 6-3 lead midway through the third period. Siena answered with consecutive goals of its own to slice the Wildcat lead to 6-5 in the early stages of the fourth period.
Villanova senior Hannah Ishida (Honolulu, Hawaii) scored for the Wildcats to give her team a two-goal advantage at 7-5 with 5:32 remaining in regulation. After Ishida's goal, Siena took control of the contest and scored three unanswered goals. Lea Allen's score with 1:35 to play gave the Saints their first lead of the game at 8-7.
Siena's lead was short-lived, as Penkal scored for Villanova just 14 seconds later. The goal tied the contest at 8-8 and sent the game into overtime.
Villanova struck first in the first overtime period when Shibata registered her fourth goal of the game. Siena evened the score at 9-9 when Allen scored with 2:43 to play in the second overtime.
The Wildcats took control of the overtime when sophomore Callan Edwards (Oxnard, Calif.) and freshman Lizzie Newman (Lafayette, Calif.) scored 30 seconds apart to give Villanova an 11-9 lead with 1:47 to play.
Siena closed to within one at 11-10 when Stephanie Bundad scored with 42 seconds remaining. The Saints were not able to get the game-tying goal and the Wildcats were on their way to the MAAC Championships.
Shibata led the Wildcats in the win with four goals and three assists, while Penkal added three goals and three steals. On defense, junior Maddi Moore (Malvern, Pa.) registered three saves and four steals and Ishida added three steals.
In the morning contest, Villanova fell to Marist by a score of 13-6. Shibata and senior Emily Ryan (Chicago, Ill.) led the Wildcats in the loss with two goals each. Freshman goalie Julie Conrath (Inverness, Ill.) tallied six saves for Villanova, while Moore added three saves.
Villanova finishes the regular season with an 8-27 overall record and a 5-7 mark in MAAC play.
2013 MAAC CHAMPIONSHIPS: