09 Dec 2021 | 11:04 | Football
EVANSTON, Ill.. – Villanova got a pair of first half goals and kept Northwestern off the scoreboard for the duration of the match in delivering a 2-0 victory Sunday on a rainy, windswept day.
Junior Lyam MacKinnonn and sophomore Luke Pompliano scored the Villanova goals in this battle of the Wildcats. Senior Kent Dickey made four saves in goal to post his second shutout of the season. Junior Josh Belluz returned to the midfield after a four-game absence due to an injury suffered earlier this month in a 1-0 victory at Connecticut.
“I just thought it was a good effort on the part of the guys,” stated Villanova head coach Tom Carlin. “For the first 60 minutes I thought we played some of the best soccer we have all season. Our possessions and our passing were very good.
“It was very, very nice to have Josh back in the lineup. He makes a huge difference for us. And it was great to see Kent get the clean sheet.”
This was Villanova’s final non-conference contest of the 2021 fall season. It upped its overall record to 9-6 overall (4-4 BIG EAST) and put the ‘Cats back into the win column after a challenging stretch of four straight setbacks, including three on the home turf at the Higgins Soccer Complex.
VU improved to 5-2 on the road thus far this season.
Villanova put together a very solid first 45 minutes. Nova limited Northwestern to just two shots, one on goal, while coming up with some key offensive plays to earn a 2-0 lead at intermission.
A strong attacking play by MacKinnon helped Nova earn a penalty kick, which he then converted at 21:50.
“Lyam got inside possession on his run and was going to have a dangerous chance there before he was taken down,” said Carlin. “Lyam really created that opportunity.”
MacKinnon calmy deposited the ball into the middle of the net after Northwestern goalkeeper Ethan Bandre dived to his right in anticipation of the shot. The goals was MacKinnon’s seventh of the fall regular season.
Shortly after entering the game in place of MacKinnon, sophomore forward Luke Pompliano made his presence know. He grabbed a loose ball on the left side and dribbled past a Northwestern defender before launching a blast into the upper right side of the net. Jorge Garcia was credited with an assist on the play. The goal was the first of the season for Pompliano.
“That was just a good hardworking play there by Luke,” stated Carlin, “and he really kept his composure on the finish.”
Center backs Viktor Benediktsson and Jack Bonas helped keep the area in front of the Nova net clear with Dickey on point when the Wildcats needed him in the final 10 minutes.
“Kent came through with a couple of big saves late when they were pressing,” Carlin said.
Villanova has two BIG EAST games remaining on the schedule after Sunday. It travels to Providence on Oct. 30 and closes out the regular season on Wednesday, Nov. 3 against Seton Hall at the Higgins Soccer Complex.
“We’re hoping this gives us some momentum as we head into these final two Big East games of the regular season,” said Carlin.