It was another clean sheet for women’s soccer, as it opened Big East play with a gutsy 1-0 win over Xavier.
Xavier, coming into the game with a 7-1-2 record, controlled the game from the onset. The Musketeers put up sixteen shots throughout the afternoon, but it was a fatal giveaway in the second half that would decide the contest. Brice McInroy, the Wildcats’ leading goal scorer with five on the season, would steal the ball off a mishandle by Xavier’s defense, evade the keeper and strike on an empty net to give the ‘Cats a lead they wouldn’t give up.
This makes two games in a row now in which the Wildcats won despite heavy pressure on their defense. Following a win to open Big East conference play, ‘Nova’s defense has been a group deserving of praise.
“The defense is playing well,” head coach Chris McLain said. “I’m excited that they’ve stepped up to the challenge. We’ve had to change our system the last couple of games, and for them to understand how direct some of these teams are, like Brown and Xavier, and adapt the way they did is pretty phenomenal. I mean, these are very, very good teams and the fact that they got the shutout is awesome.”
The ‘Cats had to adjust the defense for Xavier’s Samantha Dewey, one of the leading goal scorers in the country with nine thus far this season. Dewey had a couple of chances, including a free kick in the 64th minute that hit the top-right crossbar and a 1-on-1 chance with keeper Rebecca Gartner in the 77th minute, but at the end of the day, she was kept off the board.
When asked about Dewey, coach Chris McLain described her as “extremely dangerous,” and, “about 90% of Xavier’s offense,” acknowledging that slowing her down was no easy feat.
With this win, the Wildcats move to 5-3-2 . They will host the Georgetown Hoyas on Thursday, Oct. 3. Game time is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at Higgins Soccer Complex.