Wildcats Clinch One of Four Spots in MAAC Championship
April 23, 2007
EDISON, N.J. - Villanova (12-12, 4-6 MAAC) finished the regular season in fourth place in the conference standings and has clinched its fifth consecutive appearance in the MAAC Championship, which will be held this coming weekend at top-seeded Marist. The Wildcats enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed and will play Marist on Saturday in a semifinal match.
The top four teams in the conference standings advance to the postseason conference tournament. Villanova had advanced to the league championship in each of the past four seasons and has won at least one game in the tournament during each of the past three years. The Wildcats defeated Iona in the consolation game in 2006 and advanced to the championship game in 2005 before falling to perennial contender Wagner in the title game.
Villanova heads for the conference tournament coming off a winning effort, as the team edged St. Francis by a score of 5-4 on Sunday in the conclusion of regular season competition. The Wildcats also suffered losses over the weekend at the hands of Marist (11-1), Wagner (8-5) and Iona (8-3) to finish 4-6 in the league.
The conference tournament begins on Saturday with the two semifinal matches and concludes with the consolation and championship games on Sunday. Villanova and Marist will play in the second semifinal beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, while the first semifinal features No. 2 seed Iona and No. 3 seed Wagner. The consolation and championship will be on Sunday. During the conference tournament the MAAC will also release its postseason award winners and the all-conference team.
The Wildcats and Marist played twice during the regular season, with the Red Foxes taking both meetings by scores of 8-6 and 11-1. Marist ran through the league schedule with an undefeated 10-0 record and enters the conference tournament with an overall mark of 23-13.
Villanova features a balanced offense with seven players that have scored at least 25 points for the year and four players with at least 49 points. Junior driver Carla Martinez (Caguas, Puerto Rico), a preseason all-league selection, leads the team in assists (32) and points (71) while ranking second with 39 goals scored. Senior driver Brynn Rooney (Downers Grove, Ill.) has tallied a team-high 40 scores while dishing out 21 assists for 61 points. In addition, junior defender Christina Dopp (Stockton, Calif.) has contributed 56 points (25 goals, 31 assists) and junior utility Meredith Klipa (Grand Rapids, Mich.) has 49 points (32 goals, 17 assists).
On the defensive end, the Wildcats have allowed an average of 8.29 goals per game while registering 253 steals against 214 turnovers. Junior goalie Erin Foley (Chicago, Ill.) has posted 11 victories in the net with an 8.90 goals-against average and 135 saves.
The winner of the 2007 MAAC Championship receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.