Despite Seton Hall owning a 6-11 record on the season entering Thursday's opening round Big East matchup, Villanova found themselves in a dogfight as they took on the #5 seed at home. In the end though, Villanova was able to use an opportunistic attack and a strong defensive effort to ease past the Pirates 3-1.
'Nova was able to opening the scoring early on, with junior Danny Gonzalez marauding down the right flank after stealing a pass before uncorking a surface-to-air missile that found the top corner to stake the 'Cats to a 1-0 lead in just the 10th minute.
Despite their early advantage, the Wildcats went in to the half down 10-7 in shots, but still clinging to a 1-0 lead thanks to John Fogarty and the 'Nova defense.
Villanova would double their advantage early in the 2nd period when Kyle McCarthy was hacked down outside the Pirates' box. Kyle Soroka stepped up in the 51st minute and put the free kick up and over all the wall for a critical 2 goal advantage.
Soroka's goal proved to be the game-winner, but Seton Hall kept fighting back and finally found a goal of it's own in the 72nd minute when Max Garcia slammed home a cross to cut the lead to 1.
Villanova wouldn't relent however, and regained their 2 goal lead in the 88th minute to seal the win when Hayden Harr took a nice pass from Dylan Renna and calmly deposited the insurance into the net.
Villanova moves on now to face #1 seed (and #6 nationally ranked) Connecticut in Storrs on Sunday afternoon at 1 pm ET. The game is expected to be a sell-out. A win would send 'Nova to the Big East seminfinals at Red Bull Arena for the second consecutive year.