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by Pat Ralph

Coming off a tough 1-0 loss to No. 24 Notre Dame last Monday, the women’s soccer team had one more regular season game before the Big East Championship next week, as the Wildcats hosted the No. 11 Georgetown Hoyas last Friday at the West Campus Soccer Complex on Senior Day.

By game’s end, the Wildcats defeated the Hoyas 1-0 behind a goal from freshman Emily Damstrom to close out the regular season with a huge victory.

Damstrom notched the only goal of the day in the 28th minute, when she placed a beautiful pass from senior Heidi Sabatura into the back of the net to give the Wildcats their fifth conference win to improve to 5-4-1 in Big East play and 7-8-1 overall.

It was Damstrom’s second goal of the season and Sabatura’s 28th assist of her Villanova career.

With the assist in last Friday’s contest, Sabatura moved into a first place tie on the all-time assists list with Laura Johnson, who accumulated 28 assists from 2001-2004.

“Heidi and I were connecting all game, and when she was running at the Georgetown back four I backed off and she fed me a great ball,” Damstrom said after the contest.

The win last Friday for the women’s soccer team was the first against the Hoyas since 2007, and the first win at home against the Hoyas since 2006.

It was also the first win against Georgetown for the Wildcats under the leadership of Head Coach John Byford.

As Byford noted after the contest last Friday, “it was the attitude and determination” of the Wildcats that propelled them to the victory over the Hoyas.

The Wildcats certainly showed it judging by the stats of the game, as they were able to outshoot the Hoyas by a 10-3 margin in the first half and were able to keep the Hoyas off the scoreboard with a clean sheet from junior goalkeeper Jami Kranich.

Kranich, along with some help from the defensive unit of senior Taylor Houck, sophomore Kathryn Rayner, sophomore Kaitlin Hogman and freshman Rhea Barghash, made five saves in the match, including two diving stops late in the game to keep the Hoyas, who had 16 second half shots, off the scoreboard.

Before last Friday’s contest, the Hoyas had only given up one goal to a fellow Big East opponent this season, when they tied the Louisville Cardinals 1-1 on Oct. 7.

Last Friday’s loss for the Hoyas was their first in conference play this season, as they dropped to 14-2-2 overall and 8-1-1 in the Big East.

While the Hoyas had already clinched a home playoff game and a first round bye in the Big East Championship, the win for the Wildcats not only served as a huge confidence booster to end the regular season, but it also locked up a home playoff match for the Wildcats at the West Campus Soccer Complex on Thursday, Oct. 25, when the Big East Championship commences.

With their second win of the season over a Top 25 opponent, the Wildcats head into the Big East Championship with the confidence that they can bring the title back to the Main Line.

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