With Mother Nature holding off the cold temperatures for another week, the 70-degree days have created a confusing weather trend in the heart of this fall season. This week, temperatures are expected to start going back to the expected weather patterns of this time of year, creating a perfect transition for sports on Villanova’s campus. As the fall sports start to wrap up their seasons, the colder weather brings the much anticipated arrival of basketball. Here’s a look back at the week’s events.
Another Successful Fall Festival:
Villanova hosted its 27th annual Special Olympics Fall Festival this past weekend. This year’s theme was “under the sea.” Campus was buzzing in excitement for the weekend of competition and fun. Villanova opened its doors to over 1,600 athletes, coaches, and unified partners representing 39 different Pennsylvania programs. Opening ceremonies were held on Friday night, with the annual 13-mile torch run to start things off. Villanova men’s basketball head coach Jay Wright was a guest speaker for the packed Pavilion. The university’s campus was transformed to hold different events at every corner. Athletes competed in six sports – bocce, volleyball, powerlifting, long distance running, soccer, and roller skating, which was held at Marple Sports Arena in nearby Broomall, PA. Competitions took place all-day on Saturday and earlier this morning, before the closing ceremonies took place in the afternoon. Congratulations to the athletes, coaches, and the 2,000 volunteers that were a part of such a great weekend and yearly tradition on campus.
Successful Conquest of Rhode Island:
On Saturday, the football team traveled north to Kingston, Rhode Island for its last road game before homecoming. The Wildcats showcased another strong defensive effort en route to a 28-3 win. Villanova held Rhode Island to just 208 yards of total offense and racked up four interceptions. The Wildcats have not relinquished a touchdown to the opposing team in three of their last four games. On the other side of the ball, Villanova enjoyed a great game on the ground. Matt Gudzak had the best game of his young Villanova career thus far, rushing for 118 yards and a touchdown off of 10 carries. Quarterback Zach Bednarczyk ran the ball 11 times for 74 yards and a touchdown. He also found success through the air, completing 11-of-18 pass attempts for 116 yards and a touchdown pass to Kevin Gulyas. The Wildcats are now above .500, sitting at 5-4. They return home next week for their final home game. Villanova takes on the Richmond Spiders on Saturday, November 14, at 3:30 p.m.
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The women’s volleyball team cracked PrepVolleyball.com’s top 50 rankings earlier this week. The Wildcats entered in at #47 going into the weekend. They were expecting a tough test, with back-to-back road games at Butler and Xavier on Friday and Saturday. The Wildcats clashed with the Bulldogs on Friday night. The last time these two teams met on Villanova’s home court, the Wildcats had a fierce comeback after being down 2-1. Unfortunately for them, Butler made sure to finish the job. The Bulldogs found themselves in a similar situation, but this time they took a close fourth set to give them the win. Villanova lost in four sets, but had a chance to bounce back the following night against the Musketeers. At Xavier, the Wildcats found themselves down 2-1 once again heading into the fourth frame. Like all of the sets before it, the fourth set required a tough, hard-fought effort in order to win it. The Wildcats won a close fourth set to force the deciding tie breaker. The Musketeers raced out to the lead and never looked back, handing Villanova its second loss in a row. The Wildcats are now 8-6 on the road, but will return home next weekend where they are undefeated.
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Season Ending Thriller:
It hasn’t been easy for the men’s soccer team. A hot start to begin the season was met with a number of setbacks caused by injuries. They put together a hard-fought effort in order to pull away with the victory over the Seton Hall Pirates. Down 2-0 for most of the game, Villanova put together two quick scores late in the second half in order to force overtime. Sean Sheridan headed the ball in off of a corner kick for the first goal in the 76th minute. About a minute later, Max Kroschwitz scored the tying goal. In overtime, Sheridan found the back of the net again. He nailed the game-winning goal in the 95th minute of the game, handing Seton Hall a heartbreaking loss in its final home game. Unfortunately, the Wildcats narrowly missed clinching a playoff spot in the Big East Tournament. However, they end their season on a high note. The Wildcats finish the year 9-8.
Basketball is (Almost) Back:
The men’s basketball team hosted Division II Pace University in a preseason exhibition game at the Wells Fargo Center. The Pace Setters set the tone early in the game, grabbing the lead right out of the gate. Villanova would later find its footing in the game. A dunk by Daniel Ochefu sparked a 26-4 run to give them a big lead going into the half. The Wildcats went on to win 80-45. Five different players scored at least ten points. Jalen Brunson had a game-high 13 points. Josh Hart and Ryan Arcidiacono finished with 12 points each. Ochefu added a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Mikal Bridges also had ten points to round it off. They begin the regular season on Friday night, with a game against Fairleigh Dickinson.
As for the women’s team, they will host an exhibition game of their own tomorrow night at the Pavilion against Bloomsburg. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.