Villanova (9-3) at USF (7-2-2)When: Tonight, 8 Where: USF Soccer StadiumTV/Radio: None
The men’s soccer team will host the Red Division-leading Villanova Wildcats tonight in the team’s sixth conference match of the season.
The Bulls are fifth in the division and are 2-2-1 against conference opponents for the season. It’s the Bulls’ first home match since playing Providence on Sept. 22.
“I think the team is really excited to be back at home,” coach George Kiefer said. “We haven’t had a game on our home field in four games, so we’re all looking forward to that.”
USF has had a better offensive output when playing at home this season. They’ve scored 15 of their 22 goals this season at USF soccer stadium and boast a 3-1 record at home.
Villanova comes into the match with an overall record of 9-3 and 4-2 in the conference. They’re 5-1 on the road this year despite being outshot in five of their six road games. The Wildcats played then-No.1 Duke on Sept. 7 and were outshot 25-4 but still managed to come away with a 1-0 victory.
Wildcat goalkeeper Jason Friel has seven shutouts to go with his 51 saves on the season. He’s tied for second in the Big East in saves and has played in 11 of the Wildcats’ 12 games so far.
For the most part, the Wildcats don’t allow their opponents many goals, despite allowing plenty of chances. Opponents have found the back of the net only six times in 100 shots.
For the Bulls, it would be easy to see this game as one of the biggest of the season. The Bulls are No.15 in the national rankings. Nothing would help the team move up in the standings faster than knocking off a division leader on the Bulls’ way to their third conference win, but coach George Kiefer insists on treating this as a game like any other.
“Everybody wants to make this game bigger than every other game,” Kiefer said. “In the end it’s just another game. When the whistle blows it’s all the same, and we’re facing a good opponent.”
As this match is the third the Bulls have had in the last six days, the team is battling fatigue.
“With our schedule, our main focus is having our legs,” Kiefer said. “The guys are very fit right now. I like the fact that we have a very strong bench. I’ll be looking for us to get a very strong contribution from those guys.”