Philly Soccer 6

Philly Soccer 6 previews: Villanova and La Salle

The 2013 season was a great one for college soccer in Philadelphia, with five of the six local Division I teams making it to conference playoffs. The city also saw some national attention while hosting the NCAA’s College Cup at PPL Park. Notre Dame’s men went on to win their first national title at PPL with a 2-1 victory over Maryland.

College action starts up again this weekend with a pair of home exhibition matches. Villanova will host Fordham at their newly renovated soccer complex on Saturday morning. La Salle will host Stony Brook on Saturday afternoon at McCarthy Stadium. Below is a season preview for the two teams.

Villanova University

Head coach: Tom Carlin
2013 NCAA RPI: ranked 73rd
2013 Record: Big East Conference 3-6-0 / overall 8-9-1
Newcomers: Lucas Hodges (M), Kieran McCarthy (GK) and Drew Stanko (GK)
Players to watch: Chris Hill (M), Padraic McCullaugh (F), Aaron Dennis (F)
Must-see matches: Drexel (Sept. 2), Lehigh (Sept. 23), Creighton (Sept. 27), La Salle (Oct. 1), Butler (Oct. 25), Georgetown (Nov. 7)

The Big EAST was highly competitive in 2013 as reflected in Villanova’s final conference record. Despite hard work and a talented squad, the Wildcats did not make it to the post season. This marks the first time since 2006 for Villanova. Coach Carlin will be looking to resume that track record in 2014.

La Salle University

Head coach: Pat Farrell
2013 NCAA RPI: ranked 101st
2013 record: Atlantic 10 Conference 5-2-1 / overall 8-8-4
Newcomers: Patrick Murphy
Players to watch: Ron Friskey (F), Joe Farrell (M/D), Pat Sullivan (M)
Must-see matches: Temple (Sept. 13), Dayton (Nov. 7), George Mason (Nov. 9)

The Explorers will be looking to make their 5th consecutive appearance in the Atlantic 10 playoffs this season after a competitive performance in 2013. They’ll do so without the help of goalkeeper John McCarthy who signed a professional contract with the USL’s Rochester Rhinos in February and without midfielder Jason Plumhoff who was named the Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year in 2013, his senior year.

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