Another Successful SpO Weekend:
The days were counting down until Villanova’s big annual Special Olympics Fall Festival. It is the largest student-run Special Olympics in the world. This weekend marked the 26th anniversary of the Fall Festival, as the campus opened its doors with open arms to over a thousand athletes. Villanova’s campus was transformed to an athlete’s wonderland, adorned with decorations to reflect this year’s superhero theme. The opening ceremonies took place on Friday night, with the 13-mile torch relay from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the Pavilion. Competitions took place on Saturday and early this morning, before the closing ceremonies occurred earlier this afternoon. Athletes competed in six sports: volleyball, soccer, distance running, powerlifting, bocce, and roller skating. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter who won or lost; it was about having fun. When they weren’t competing, they were enjoying themselves in O-Town. The quad on main campus was turned into a fun zone for athletes, students, and volunteers. There was face-painting, music, games, and dancing. It was a great time for all participants involved.
Return of Rollie Massimino and the Rest of Preseason Basketball:
Tuesday night at the Pavilion was special for a number of reasons. Basketball was back with a preseason game against Northwood. However, it was more than just a preseason game. It was a celebration, to honor a team that did the improbable and fought the unbeatable foe. This season marks the 30th anniversary of the 1985 Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team that sent shock waves as they made their way to the National Championship finals. While everyone was ready to write them off, they were rewriting history and preparing to make their grand finale. They upset the top-seeded Georgetown Hoyas as an 8-seed, 66-64. Before the game, fans were able to participate in a meet and greet with players of the 1985 squad. Before tip-off, there was a ceremony honoring each of the players from the historic team. A standing ovation was given to Rollie Massimino, who currently coaches the Northwood Seahawks. Villanova took down the Seahawks with ease, winning 93-50. Earlier today, the Wildcats took on Nyack for their second and last preseason game. Admission was free at the Wells Fargo Center for all fans who came to attend the game. Once again, Villanova looked good as they cruised to victory over the Warriors. Darrun Hilliard, Daniel Ochefu, and JayVaughn Pinkston looked great in the two preseason games so far. Dylan Ennis appears to be James Bell’s replacement in the starting lineup. The redshirt junior has looked solid in both games so far, showing good athleticism and basketball IQ. It’s great to see him do his thing on the court.
Full Recap: Villanova Basketball is Back (and Rollie too!)
Full Recap: Villanova Beats Nyack in Preseason Game, 82-45
Back on the Right Track:
Villanova Football shook off last week’s loss to Richmond and were back to their winning ways. It took them a little while to get the engine warmed up in the chilly conditions. They went three-and-out in their first two drives, but once they got it going, they were in control. Towson would score first, but Villanova would come back and take a 21-7 lead going into halftime. Towson would score on the opening drive of the second half to make it 21-14, but little did they know that would be the last time they would see the end zone. The Wildcats exploded for a 21-point fourth quarter performance. It was highlighted by a Joe Sarnese pick-six and Jason Ceneus’ fifth interception of the season. It was Ceneus’ fourth pick in the last three games. John Robertson was out of the cast for the first time since week one and had himself a solid game. He completed 16-of-21 pass attempts for 182 yards and three touchdowns. The junior quarterback also added 20 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown. With losses to McNeese State and FCS titan North Dakota State, it should be interesting to see how far Villanova will move up in the polls next week. They will take on Albany under the lights on Saturday, November 15th, at 7 p.m.
Full Recap (updated with video highlights): Wildcats Pounce on Tigers for a 42-14 Win
Senior Day Spoiled:
The men’s soccer team had to put the Senior Day pre-game celebrations and emotions on hold, as they had a tough task in playing #11 Georgetown in the chilling winds and frigid cold. Georgetown struck early and got the first goal of the game. A shot by Brandon Allen was saved by Villanova’s Will Steiner, however Austin Martz would collect the rebound and put it in the back of the net for a goal. The Hoyas were in control, holding an 11-5 shot advantage over Villanova. The Wildcats would tie it up just before the half. Oscar Umar found Andreas Bartosinski, a native from Germany, for the game tying goal and the first in the sophomore’s career. Villanova settled in and the second half was a much more tighter game. Both defenses were improved and made it tough for the opposing team. Unfortunately, Georgetown would break through and deal the heartbreaking goal at the 84:13 mark. Arun Basuljevic took the feed from Bakie Goodman and his shot went past Steiner for the game-winning goal. Regardless, the game had no bearing on the standings for Villanova, as they were a guaranteed the 5-seed had they won or lost. They will take on Providence in the opening round of the Big East Tournament on Tuesday.
Full Recap: Senior Day Showdown: Villanova and #11 Georgetown Clash
End of the Road:
The women’s soccer team played their final game of the season on Monday. They snatched the 6-seed in the Big East tournament and faced off against the St. John’s Red Storm. St. John’s was off to a quick start, getting their first goal in the 11th minute. Georgia Kearney-Perry had a nice header for goal off of a corner kick by Caitlyn McLaughlin. The Red Storm fired a barrage of shots in the first half, getting a 12-4 shot advantage. They continued to be aggressive and push the Wildcats back onto their heels. It paid off for the Red Storm, as McLaughlin would get her second assist of the day when she found an open Shelby Halasz for the second goal of the game. Villanova couldn’t get it going as they were shutout by St. John’s. Villanova finishes the season with a 5-10-4 record.
Weekend in the Water:
The men’s and women’s swimming & diving team traveled to Piscataway, NJ for a two-day swim meet. The men’s team competed against Georgetown and Seton Hall. The women’s team engaged in a quad-meet with Georgetown, Seton Hall, and Rutgers. The men’s team lost both their meets, losing 209-132 to Georgetown and 245-102 to Seton Hall. The men’s team concluded the meet with three first-place, four second-place and two third-place finishes. Senior Jason Moyer had the lone individual first place finish for the men’s team when he set a personal record of 47.07 seconds on the 100 yard freestyle. On the other hand, the women’s team posted victories against the Hoyas (233-114) and the Pirates (256-85), but lost to Rutgers (189.5-154.5). They found more success over the weekend, tallying seven first-place wins, 10 second-place and five third-place marks in 24 events over the two days. Fiona Hardie, Katrin Heider, Jessica Randolph and Sara Jurek earned first place in the 400 yard freestyle relay at 3:28.98. Jurek also got first-place in 100 yard freestyle. Villanova went one-two in the 500 yard freestyle as Emily Mayo and Caitlin Daday earned first and second.