PHILADELPHIA, Pa. 8/26/2102 – Despite being outplayed early in the second half the Saint Joseph’s Hawks women’s soccer team capitalized on two second half goals, the winning tally off a Villanova defensive mistake, to earn a 2 – 1 victory over the Wildcats. With the game tied at one Saint Joseph’s got credit for an own goal off a corner kick then held off Villanova to get the win. Hawks coach Jess Reynolds credited the ability of her team to stay in the game until the breaks came.
“We kept telling our team that they were not playing with energy against a team that was supposed to win,” said Reynolds. “We said go get them, we can compete against them. “
“We made substitutions with people who had more energy and it changed the momentum of the game for us. That’s what we needed.”
The game was tied at halftime as neither team scored. The Villanova Wildcats started the second half of play putting strong pressure on the Saint Joseph’s defense. With just over 42 minutes to play in the
second half, Villanova put a corner kick on net causing a scramble in front that the Saint Joseph’s defense cleared away. The Wildcats were able to keep the ball in the offensive zone getting two more attempts that went wide. The Wildcats finally put one home in the 50th minute as Freshman midfielder Rhea Barghash scored to make the score 1 – 0 at the 49:41 mark. The assist went to Sophomore midfielder Stephanie Myers. Barghash has two goals this season. Villanova kept on the attack getting two more good chances over the next 15 minutes, but could not find the back of the net. Villanova Coach John Byford was disappointed in their disability to finish.
“I’m not sure we created many opportunities,” said Byford. “We got down in their end but lacked quality in front of the goal. We never made their goal keeper make a save.”
The game changed when the Hawks went on the attack. Playing with more energy the Hawks got the important goal of the game off a corner kick. Senior forward Ali Yozwiak scored her second goal of the season off a corner kick Yozwiak got a pass from Sophomore midfielder Jill Root. From the left side of the goal Yozwiak lifted a high shot toward the right side of the goal that eluded Villanova goal keeper Kelsey Quinn to tie the game at a goal each in the 66th minute. Just under five minute later the Hawks lifted a right corner kick. With the ball high in the air a Villanova defender tried to head it away, but the ball glanced to the left and into the goal for the lead tally.
“We took a risk to see what would happen,” said Reynolds. “We have been working on desperate situations, and playing with some urgency. We dumped it in and got lucky.”
“The header was going way wide, but one of our players got a head on it and deflected the ball into the net,” Byford said.
The Wildcats pressed the offense, but the defense and Senior goal keeper Christine Neal kept did not allow a tying goal.
“What’s nice about Neal is the she has a lot of confidence,” Reynolds said about her goal keeper. “She has senior leadership and did a great job.”
Villanova had a 16 – 6 edge in shots, 12 – 5 in the second half. Neal registered 6 saves in the game.
Saint Joseph’s remains unbeaten this season as the Hawks improve to 2 – 0 – 1 this season. The wins are good preparation for the Hawks Atlantic 10 season. It was a city win that has great meaning to Saint Joseph’s.
“It simulates playing an Atlantic 10 game, and it is good to put yourself in that situation,” said Reynolds. “Anytime we play LaSalle, Temple, Drexel, Penn, it is just as important as winning an Atlantic 10 game.”
Villanova is 1 – 2 – 1 losing their last two games to city opponents, Drexel and Saint Joseph’s.
“The games are important to us,” Byford said. “There is an unwritten city rivalry. We played two city teams this weekend and came up short. We’re not happy about it.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian