Wildcats Hope to Build on Momentum Wednesday at Connecticut

09 Dec 2021 | 11:09 | Football

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Villanova Wildcats hope to extend their best start to a BIG EAST regular season since 2004 on Wednesday evening when they visit Connecticut at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn.

Villanova (7-2 overall, 3-0 BIG EAST) has relied on an airtight defensive model supplemented by timely goals in delivering consecutive 1-0 victories at Marquette, over Butler and at Xavier. Center back Viktor Benediktsson added another honor to his portfolio on Tuesday when the Philly Soccer Six tabbed him as its Defensive Player of the Week.

On Monday, Benediktsson received the same accolade from the BIG EAST Conference.

It’s been a multi-pronged effort through the middle anchored by goalkeepers Carson Williams, Kent Dickey, center backs Jack Bonas and Benediktsson along with defensive midfielder Josh Belluz. On the outside, juniors Anthony Dragisics and Anthony Cousins Jr. have been terrific too.

“We’ve been winning balls in the air and clearing them before they can become dangerous moments,” notes head coach Tom Carlin.

Villanova has surrendered a total of eight goals in nine games played this fall (0.89 goals against average). Four of those eight came in a 4-0 loss at Penn State on Sept. 21.

This is the Wildcats’ first visit to Storrs since a 2012 BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinal game won by the Huskies, 1-0. The BIG EAST was reconfigured in 2013 with UConn shifting to the American Conference before returning to the BIG EAST ahead of the 2020-21 season. Villanova scored a 4-1 win over the Huskies when the two teams met at the Higgins Soccer Complex last March.

Connecticut leads the all-time series 14-3-1.

The Huskies are 4-3-1 overall, 0-2-1 BIG EAST entering the action Wednesday night. Connecticut earned a 1-1 draw in its most recent outing last Saturday against St. John’s. This contest will be live streamed via the BIG EAST Digital Network on Flo Sports with kickoff just after 7 p.m.

The Wildcats currently sit atop the BIG EAST with nine points. The Red Storm is in a second-place tie with Providence while Georgetown, ranked No.1 in the United Soccer Coaches poll, is at six points with a 2-0 mark. The Hoyas visit Seton Hall on Wednesday night.

Following Wednesday night’s match, the Wildcats will return to campus to begin preparations for Saturday’s home battle against the Red Storm (1 p.m./BIG EAST Digital Network presented by Flo Sports).

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