Villanova evened its record at 4-4 after sweeping its weekend homestand. The Wildcats opened up Big East competition with a 5-3 victory over Providence (4-3) on Friday and defeated LaSalle (4-4) by a score of 6-3 on Sunday.
Friday saw a slow start by both the Wildcats and the Friars. However, ‘Nova was able to get many shots on goal as well as a few penalty corners. The offense found the back of the goal at the 11:16 mark when junior Caitlin Van Goeverden made a pass in the circle to sophomore Meghan Mitchell for the first score of the night. Mitchell, who had a career high nine shots against the Friars, was selected to last week’s Big East Weekly Honor Roll.
Providence found its way to the goal shortly after Mitchell’s goal, tying it up. The second period featured many shots on goal, but none making it into the cage, leaving the score knotted up at 1-1 heading into the half.
A back and forth battle filled the third period. Mitchell put in the second Wildcat goal at the 38:44 mark, redirecting a shot from freshman Emma Schwarz, which came after a penalty corner by freshman Anne Drabbe. The Friars quickly answered with a goal of their own off of a penalty corner to tie the game. Shortly after, Van Goeverden received a pass in the circle from sophomore Sabine de Ruijter, sending it through the goalie’s legs for the lead. Providence would not let up, however, and tied the score yet again with another penalty corner.
The end of the game was all Wildcats. Sophomore Amanda Middleman would use assists from Mitchell and Van Goeverden to give Villanova a 4-3 lead. To finish it off, sophomore Jamie Pennington sent a penalty corner to Van Goeverden who found de Ruijter for the goal. Providence would have no luck in the period, capping the ‘Nova victory. The Wildcats returned to the Proving Grounds on Sunday to face LaSalle.
The Explorers took the lead quickly with a goal at the 4:34 mark. Later in the period, Middleman took an assist from de Ruijter to knot the score at one each. Shortly after, the Wildcats took the lead, as Van Goeverden accepted a pass from Mitchell and buried the shot.
The lead would not last too long, despite a fierce offensive push by ‘Nova, as LaSalle would tally two more goals in the second period to regain the advantage over the ‘Cats. Just before the half, Drabbe sent a penalty corner assist to de Ruijter, who scored the tying goal.
‘Nova was dominant in the remainder of the game, as the Explorers failed to find the back of the cage in the second half. Despite a few early corners from LaSalle, they were no match for the Wildcat defensive effort. De Ruijter received a penalty corner from Pennington, taking a shot at the goal. With her shot blocked, she regained possession and fired it back into the goal, giving ‘Nova the lead with her second of the game.
De Ruijter would continue her excellent performance against LaSalle by scoring off another penalty corner by Pennington, extending the lead to 5-3 and completing her hat trick. Soon after, Mitchell found the back of the goal to complete the scoring.
The Wildcats take a quick trip to Philadelphia to face Temple (5-1) on Friday at 6 p.m. before travelling to Connecticut on Sunday to play Fairfield (3-4) at 1 p.m.