There were a lot of gutsy performances in the world of Villanova Athletics this week. Here’s a look back at a big week in sports before we head into turkey season:
Three Cheers for Villanova XC:
This past weekend was the end of the road for both the men’s and women’s cross country teams. The men’s team competed in the NCAA National Championships, while the women’s team competed for the ECAC Championship.
First Cheer: Stephanie Schappert. In what was her final race in her Villanova career, the senior from Florida went out with a bang. Schappert won the individual title in the 5,000m race, finishing approximately four seconds in front of second place finisher Emily Ritter of Rider University. Schappert finished with a time of 17:42.4, good enough for first place in front of 98 other runners.
Second Cheer: The women’s XC team. They finished second overall at the ECAC Championships held in Van Cortlandt Park, NY. Aside from Schappert’s victory, Angel Piccirillo finished within the top five times. Piccirillo finished in fourth with a time of 17:54.6. Alexandra Russo, Erin Jaskot, Caitlin Bungo, and Katie Fisher completed the race in the top-30.
Third Cheer: The men’s XC team. Patrick Tiernan led the Wildcats with the lone top-20 finish (18th). Overall, the men’s team ended up in seventh place. This was their best finish in nationals since 2000. It was also first time the team finished in the top ten since 2001. A number of milestones and records were broken. While they didn’t get the result they wanted, they’ll definitely learn from this and better themselves for next time.
Game of Inches:
As Al Pacino once said in Any Given Sunday, “Life is a game of inches.” Villanova football is no exception. Once again, Villanova broke the hearts of the Delaware faithful. The Wildcats put together a dramatic fourth quarter comeback that included a couple of fourth down conversions. After converting on fourth-and-one, the Wildcats immediately looked for the end zone. John Robertson connected with Kevin Gulyas who made the catch and ran it upfield for the go-ahead touchdown with 16 seconds remaining in the game. Villanova successfully completed the two point conversion and made sure Delaware didn’t pull off any miraculous plays. The Wildcats showed true grit, converting 3-of-4 fourth down opportunities despite going 0-for-9 in third down conversions. “That is a credit to how much heart our team has,” said Robertson after the game. While a playoff spot was guaranteed despite the result of Saturday’s game, a win has secured a first-round bye for them. Earlier today, the FCS 24-team playoff field was announced. The Wildcats grabbed the 6-seed and will play the winner of James Madison-Liberty.
Full Recap: More Last Minute Heroics in This Year’s “Battle of the Blue”
FCS Playoff Bracket: 2015 FCS Tournament Bracket Announced
The Legends Classic commenced as Villanova took their home court for the first time earlier this week. It began with a Monday night game against Maryland Eastern Shore. The Wildcats came bursting out of the gate, piling on a quick 13-2 lead. They never looked back, firing on all cylinders defensively and offensively. Villanova forced 22 turnovers en route to an 81-44 blowout win. Kris Jenkins had a team-high 15 points. He was one of four Wildcats to score in the double-digits. However, the next game was not as successful. The Wildcats struggled to find their shot as they got torn up by Bucknell’s Chris Hass. Hass finished with 32 points as he led the Bison back into the game against the Wildcats, after facing double digit deficits in the first half. Eventually the game was even and became a back-and-forth between both teams. While the Wildcats’ defense remained effective, the same could not be said for their offense. They were 1-for-12 from long range in the first half. The game was decided by a pair of blocks by Daniel Ochefu and a few steals by Darrun Hilliard that would ultimately put the game away. Villanova got away at the end, winning 72-65. They’ve shown both sides of the spectrum so far, but thankfully they haven’t lost yet. Jay Wright knows there’s some work that needs to be done, hopefully the fix their mistakes in time for their trip to Brooklyn.
Full Recap: Wildcats Rip Hawks Out of the Air, Win 81-44
Full Recap: Surviving the Stampede: Wildcats Claw Their Way Past The Bison
Volleyball Weekend Finale:
The women’s volleyball team concluded their season with games at Creighton and Georgetown. It was a rough way to end the year, by getting swept in both games. Creighton beat Villanova 25-13, 25-9, and 25-10. Their game against Georgetown was much closer, but the Hoyas were able to get the game-changing points that made a difference. They beat the Wildcats 25-23, 25-19, and 25-19. The Wildcats finish the season with a record of 13-20 overall and 6-12 in Big East play.
First Of Many More to Come:
The women’s basketball team went out west to take on Cal State Fullerton. Both teams were 0-2 entering the game and only one was going to walk out with their first win of the season. It was a homecoming game for senior Taylor Holeman. The Wildcats took the lead and never looked back. The three point shot and stellar defensive play were the difference makers in this game. They sunk 11 shots from beyond the arc and forced 19 turnovers en route to a 50-43 win. The Wildcats were paced by Caroline Coyer, who had nine of her team-high 15 points in the second half. Freshman Alex Louin provided 14 points off the bench. Kendall Burton was another key asset off the bench, adding nine points all off of three pointers.