09 Dec 2021 | 11:05 | Football
VILLANOVA, Pa. – DePaul scored a decisive goal in the 110th minute to lift it past Villanova 3-2 in a tightly contested BIG EAST match played Wednesday afternoon at the Higgins Soccer Complex.
Earlier, Villanova had forged a tie in the 78th minute on a beautiful diving header by Anthony Dragisics off a pass from Lyam MacKinnon.
“I thought we played well,” stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. “We showed a lot of resilience to come back. We just got a little unluck there at the end.”
Villanova is now 8-6 overall, 4-4 in the BIG EAST. DePaul returned to Chicago with a record of 7-6-1 overall, 3-3-1 in BIG EAST play.
This battle, which got underway at 1 p.m. instead of the customary 3 p.m. for October midweek games at the Higgins Soccer Complex, provided action right from the opening whistle. DePaul registered the first score of the day at 3:46 as Jake Fuderer found Jack Richards, who finished the play to notch his fifth goal of the season.
It wasn’t too long before the Wildcats were level.
The two-man tandem of junior Lyam MacKinnon and freshman Balthi Saunders put a nice combination together to tie the game at one at the 10:07 mark. Saunders sent a left-footed blast from the left side above the reach of Blue Demons goalkeeper Gandhi Cruz. The goal was the fourth of the campaign for the freshman from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Just 35 seconds later, an official’s whistle blew for a Villanova foul inside the Wildcats’ own 18-yard box. Fuderer fired home the penalty kick and DePaul regained the lead.
The score remained that way into the latter stages of the second half. That’s when MacKinnon sent a low cross through the DePaul 18-yard box that appeared headed for the far sideline. Dragisics, however, swooped in from the left side, diving head first to r-direct the ball past Cruz into the net at 77:12.
Both teams applied quality pressure throughout the day. Villanova outshot DePaul 22-19. But the Blue Demons were able to push forward several times in the second overtime and the final push came not long after the announcement of the final minute of the second extra period was made on the public address system.
The Wildcats appeared to have turned away the Blue Demons with a blocked shot but the carom came right to a Blue Demon. Omar Ramadan fired a shot into the net to end the contest.
Villanova will play its final non-conference match of the fall 2021 campaign on Sunday when it travels to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern at 5 p.m. eastern time. Following that contest, the Wildcats will have just two remaining BIG EAST games: Oct. 30 at Providence and Nov. 3 at home when Seton Hall comes to West Campus.