PHILADELPHIA, PA 9/7/2012 – The Villanova Wildcats men’s soccer team overcame a one goal halftime deficit with two second half goals winning 2 – 1 over the Hartford Hawks at the Penn Park playing in the Penn Classic. Villanova put two goals together within two minutes to up their record to 4 – 0. This was the first time the Wildcats trailed at halftime. Coach Tom Carlin felt it was important that his team accepted the challenge and got the come from behind win.
“We said to the team you’re down a goal, but you’re not out,” Carlin said. “You’re one goal from getting back in this. We were going to have to score to win the game, so let’s go get that one and take it from there.”
Hartford took the lead in the 43rd minute when defender Javoni Simms put the ball in the lower right corner beating Villanova Goal Keeper John Fogarty. Villanova picked up the offensive pace in the second half out-shooting Hartford 15 – 6 in the half, 23 – 14 overall. It was not until the
73rd minute the pressure paid off as defender Will Carson took a pass from forward Aaron Dennis and lasted the ball from the middle to the top shelf tying the game at 1. Just 1 minute and 47 seconds later midfielder Oscar Umar put the winning goal in the net.“In the second half we started to win the battles and tried to win the game,” Carlin said. “In the first half we played well, but didn’t try to win the game. We weren’t as aggressive as usual, and when you don’t do that for 90 minutes you leave yourself open to being scored on like we were in the first half. In the second half the guys responded, we came out and it was only a matter of time before we got a score. We got one from our center moving forward and that changed everything for us.”The next game in the Classic for Villanova will be Air Force on Sunday, September 9. Air Force defeated Penn 2 – 1 in their first round game. Carlin likes the tournament format and believes this experience will pay dividends for Villanova as the season progresses.
“This builds our resilience playing two games over two days,” Carlin said. “It tests our conditioning early on. When you get to the NCAA Tournament you’re going to face these types of scenarios, so this gets your ready for that. It’s about mentally staying in tune and committed for 180 minutes. It’s always good when you test the guys early in the season.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian