Almost 1000 people came out to the West Campus Soccer Complex on Saturday afternoon to witness the Big East opener for the Villanova Wildcats men's soccer team and they were not disappointed as 'Nova secured a point late in the game against the 13th-ranked South Florida Bulls.
In a typical hard-fought contest between the two schools, the first half didn't have much action at either offensive end. Both goalkeepers were forced to make just one save on a total of 6 shots between the two sides. The second half however, would open up.
"Both teams are so familiar with each other and it was the kind of tough match we anticipated," stated Villanova associate head coach B.J. Callaghan.
Will Cason went close for the 'Cats before the Bulls were able to claim the lead in the 67th minute. A free kick in a dangerous area saw Roberto Alterio send a ball to the far post where Sebastien Thuriere squared a pass for Brenton Griffiths who made no mistake in hitting the back of the net.
Villanova would strike 6 minutes from time though, sending the home crowd into a frenzy. A quick restart after a USF foul saw Sean Sheridan send Oscar Umar free down the right side. Umar's cross into the box would find Hayden Harr, and the freshman would open his Wildcats account with a powerful header to tie the game.
As is customary in college soccer, overtime ensued and each team had one chance to win the game, but were unable to capitalize. First it was USF in the first OT session as Alterio rounded goalkeeper John Fogarty outside the box but he was unable to control the ball properly and his shot sailed well over.
Kyle Soroka then had a chance in the 2nd overtime period but his piledriver was well saved by USF goalie Eric Osswald.
The draw moves Villanova to 7-2-1 on the season and 0-0-1 in the Big East Red Division. They will travel to St. John's on Wednesday night with kickoff at 7:30 pm ET.