Women's Soccer Cannot Hold Off Villanova, 3-2

Penn-Villanova Box Score

East Carolina-Hofstra Box Score

PHILADELPHIA - The soccer gods showedplenty of humorduring the Penn-Villanova women's soccer match Friday night at Rhodes Field, which capped off the first day of the Penn Invitational. If you were a Penn fan, though, there was little to laugh about when all was said and done.

Nearly an hour into the match, of course, the Quakers were all smiles. A questionable call had given them a 1-0 lead in the first half, and then a corner kick was rocketed home by Natalie Capuano to give Penn a 2-0 lead. At that point, the Quakers were playing strong, and looked like they might get their first win over Villanova in a series that has been all 'Cats to date (10-0-1 in 11 previous meetings).

Fate stepped in at that point, however, and turned things in a major way.

First up was an injury to junior Marisa Stock. Chasing a ball to the end line near the Villanova goal, she suddenly pulled up, then immediately crumpled into a heap. Given her history -- the former New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year has had two ACL injuries in the last two years -- you could not help but feel for Stock as she was tended to just off the end-line.

Eventually, the referee started the match back up with Stock being tended to. And before you knew it, Villanova (6-0-0) had gone down to the other end and scored. That set off a furious Wildcat rally, as they scored three goals in a 21-minute period to win 3-2 and remain undefeated.

Coincidentally, this was Villanova's third straight 3-2 decision, and the second consecutive match in which they overcame a 2-0 deficit to get the victory.

Penn (1-2-0) had gotten on the board in the 32nd minute when Sarah Friedman scored on what can only be described as a bizarre play. The sophomore took a free kick from way out on the right side, and put it right at 'Nova goalkeeper Molly Williams. She corralled the ball, and at the same time appeared to be pushed by Capuano. Williams fell back into the goal, and before you knew it the linesman and official were crediting the Quakers with a goal, saying Williams brought the ball all the way over her goalline. Villanova protested vehemently, but the goal stood and it was 1-0.

Just two minutes into the second half, Friedman fired a corner kick from the left side that Capuano re-directed at the near post. The ball zipped by Williams' right and inside the near post, and it was 2-0. Ironically, that goal came on Penn's only corner of the night. Capuano's goal was her third of the season, matching her total for all of 2007, while Friedman collected her fourth assist and sixth point of 2008 on the play.

Villanova's first goal came at 58:20 when Kaitlin Ryan sent a ball to the left side that Rachel Schuyler collected and, as she approached the Penn goal from 20 yards out, fired past Sara Rose's left side. The ball found the inside of the far post, and just like that it was 2-1.

Ryan then provided the tying and winning scores for the 'Cats. The first came amid a corner-kick scramble in front of the Penn goal, as she eventually got a head on it from just a few yards out and pushed it between Rose and a Penn defender. The second, at 79:26, came after a cheeky chip over the Quaker defense by Justin Wollner -- Ryan beat Rose to the ball and pushed it over the onrushing keeper from about 20 yards out.

Rose finished the night with five saves, as Villanova outshot Penn 18-5 and took seven corner kicks to the Quakers' one.

InFriday night'sfirst match, East Carolina (4-1-0) spotted Hofstra (2-3-0) a lead late in the first half on a goal by Erika Fuentes, but stormed back with a pair of second-half tallies to gain a 2-1 win. Amanda Malkiewicz assisted Jessica Swanson's tying goal in the 51st minute, then gave the Pirates the win with an unassisted tally at the 67:11 mark.

Sunday's Penn Invitational schedule featuresthe Quakersplaying East Carolina at 1 p.m., followed by Villanova and Hofstra at approximately 3:30 p.m.