VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Penn women's soccer team knew that it faced a tall order Sunday, coming in to Villanova to face a Wildcats team that was unbeaten at 6-0-2 and ranked eighth in the Mid-Atlantic region by the NSCAA. However, the Quakers were not intimidated.
"There have been years where we met up with them, and we knew we did not have the players to compete with them," said head coach Darren Ambrose. "This is not one of those years, though. If you had told me this morning that this would have been the score of the game, I would have laughed and not believed you."
The final score was 4-0, Villanova. The loss dropped Penn to 5-2-1 on the season, while the Wildcats remain unbeaten at 7-0-2.
It was certainly a match that was not indicative of the score. However, Villanova -- which outshot the Quakers 16-8 on the day -- made the most of its chances, finishing four of its eight shots on goal in clinical fashion. Penn put four shots on the goal, but too many times the final pass or effort toward goal was lacking.
"We had some heavy legs out there today," said Ambrose. "And give Villanova credit. They are very strong defensively, and they put the goals away when they got their chances. They are a great team, they are playing with confidence, and they were just too much for us today."
Villanova set the tone in just the 10th minute, when a nice give-and-go play left Nikki Mabery open to score her fifth of the season past Penn goalkeeper Cailly Carroll. That was the only scoring of the first half.
As the match approached the hour mark, the Wildcats struck again. This time, Erin Hardiman sent a ball across from the right side, and Justine Wollner finished it by pushing it past Carroll just ahead of a Penn defender. A similar goal came in the 74th minute, this time Hardiman finishing a Mabery cross with a header just inside the far post.
Stacia Hartung finished the scoring late in the game, getting behind the Quaker defense and slotting a shot past an onrushing Carroll into the right side of the goal.
Carroll went the whole way for Penn, making four saves. At the other end, Villanova's Jillian Loyden also had four stops.
Penn plays its first Ivy League game of the season Friday night, hosting Cornell at Rhodes Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Following that, the Quakers are at Rider Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. kickoff.