The Villanova women’s lacrosse team played its first two games of the 2020-2021 season following the cancellations of its first two scheduled games, as well as a postponement of its originally scheduled Wagner game. The Wildcats were eager to finally face the Wagner Seahawks on Tuesday, Feb. 23, a remarkable 349 days since their last game was played, and they responded with a thrilling, 19-18 overtime triumph. Three days later, Villanova did not fare so well, dropping a 17-2 decision at Temple.
The ‘Cats came out strong, with attacker Katie Comerford and midfielder Libby McKenna each netting unanswered goals within the first two minutes of play. Wagner got on the board a minute later, but Villanova senior attacker Julianne Puckette responded with a goal, assisted by Comerford, increasing the Wildcats’ lead by two and making the score 3-1.
Wagner did not concede and went on to score four unanswered goals, taking the lead. This trend would soon end as freshman midfielder Jessie Lee scored her first collegiate goal in the 16th minute of the first half, assisted by Comerford. The first half would continue to display itself as a high-scoring back-and-forth battle, including goals from Comerford, Olivia Piccrilli, Haley Driscoll and McKenna, concluding the half with a score of 10-9 in Wagner’s favor.
The second half proved itself to be just as equally matched, as McKenna ignited the Wildcats’ second-half offense with a goal to tie it up. Goals by Adeline Fisher, McKenna, Puckette and Driscoll would bring the ‘Cats to a two-goal lead with 2:50 remaining in regulation, with a score of 18-16. However, the Seahawks would make two successful pushes to the goal within the final 30 seconds of regulation to tie the score up 18-18, sending the game into its first three-minute overtime period.
Wagner won the draw control in overtime, but Villanova defender Sydney Frank was able to force an imperative turnover and regain possession as Wagner’s shot clock wound down.
Finally, with seconds remaining in the first overtime, Puckette picked up a ground ball to the side of the eight-meter and found McKenna, who ripped a shot from far-out, notching a buzzer-beater overtime goal, giving Villanova a 19-18 victory.
In goal for the Wildcats were junior Alexa Moro and freshman Mary Alice Collins, who combined for 11 saves on the day.
Following the victory over Wagner, the Wildcats traveled to Temple on Friday Feb. 26, where both teams were coming in fresh off of victorious season openers. Temple’s draw controls would prove to be a key to its successful offensive pushes, assisting its high-scoring attack on the day. Villanova was able to generate successful offensive opportunities, with goals from Driscoll (Alexa Tshalis assist) and Caroline Phelps ( Fisher assist). Villanova goalkeepers Moro and Collins combined for 12 saves in net.
The 1-1 Wildcats host powerhouse Loyola on Wednesday, March 3 at 2 p.m. in the Villanova Stadium. The game is available to watch via livestream on Villanova.com.