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The Wildcats lost their last non-conference game of the season. (Kristina Sumfleth/The Villanovan)

by Ryan Peloquin

Rutgers handed women’s soccer its fourth loss (3-4-2) of the season as the Scarlet Knights were victorious in Piscataway, N.J. on Friday.

The Scarlet Knights (7-1-1) netted two second half goals to win by a final score of 2-1.  The match was Villanova’s last non-conference contest before conference play begins.

Villanova came on strong halfway through the first half.   Freshman forward Katie Martin set up junior forward Caitlin Forte in the 39th minute to put the Wildcats on top 1-0.

The goal was Forte’s first of the season and third career goal.  The goal came just four minutes after her substitution in the 35th minute.

The Wildcats would hold onto that lead well into the second half.  In the 71st minute, Rutgers found the equalizer off the foot of freshman midfielder Madison Tiernan.

Senior back Tricia DiPaolo tallied the assist on the game tying goal.

In the waning minutes of regulation, neither side could gain an advantage. Back and forth, play continued into the final minutes when Rutgers freshman Stefanie Scholz sent the home crowd home happy.

From the right side, DiPaolo crossed the ball into the Villanova box where Scholz one-timed the game winner home with just 30 seconds to play.

Villanova failed to tie it up in the final seconds, and the Scarlet Knights emerged victorious.

The win marked Rutgers fourth straight win following a loss to Virginia and a tie to William and Mary.

Senior goalkeeper Jami Kranich stopped seven shots for the Wildcats, compared to Rutgers’ Jessica Janosz’s three saves.

The loss leaves Villanova at 14-8-8 all-time against Rutgers.

Villanova’s consistency has been in question all season. Surprisingly enough, Villanova has not posted back to back wins or losses this season.

Every win has been followed by a loss and every loss has been followed by a win or tie.

With conference play upon them, Villanova must string together a streak of wins.

The Wildcats open up conference play with two home games against Butler and Marquette.

The Bulldogs will give Villanova all they can handle next Thursday. Butler is 6-1-2 on the season, including an impressive 4-1 road record.

The Wildcats need to be ready for Butler sophomore Sophia Maccagnone, who has posted 16 points, including five goals, in the first nine games of the season.

After Butler, the Wildcats will host the Marquette Golden Eagles, who have been victorious in four of their last five contests.  Marquette is 6-3-0 on the year with an unimpressive 1-2 road record.

Villanova will look to capitalize on their home field advantage in this contest.

Much of Villanova’s success can be attributed to freshman forward Katie Martin, who notched the lone Wildcat assist against Rutgers.

Martin has made her presence felt, even though she is just nine games into her young career as a Wildcat.

She has started all nine games this season, and has compiled four goals and seven assists.  It appears Villanova’s future is dependent on the growth of Martin as a playmaker for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats will try to put this tough loss behind them against Butler today at 4 p.m.

The Marquette contest will start at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

From there, the Wildcats will open up a three game, Big East road trip. The trip will consist of stops in Cincinnati, Chicago and New York, as the Wildcats take on Xavier, DePaul and St. John’s in the first two weeks of October.

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