‘Cats to Cap California Visit Sunday at Cal

BERKLEY, Cal. – Villanova will wrap up their two-game season-opening visit to the West Coast on Sunday at 4 p.m. when they meet Cal (0-1 on aggregate) at Goldman Field in Edwards Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Pac 12 networks.

The Wildcats lost a 1-0 decision Thursday night at Stanford. Despite the setback in the season opener, Carlin really liked what he saw from his experienced squad.

“I think we tried hard and were there with Stanford,” Carlin said. “Thanks to them for getting the result.”

This is the first-ever men’s soccer meeting between these two programs. The Golden Bears were also defeated in their first regular season action, losing to Cal State Fullerton 3-1 Thursday night after going 3-0 in the preseason. Shoel Honda had the goal for Cal.

Leonard Griffin is in his first season as head coach at Cal after leading the Grand Canyon to an appearance in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Like the Wildcats, Cal returns an experienced roster.

The Wildcats played without their top scorer of 2021 Lyam MacKinnon (injury) in Game 1 but still applied quality pressure on the Cardinal back wall. Perhaps the best chance to score the equalizer came at the start of the second half when the second year Balthi Saunders capitalized on a turnover from Stanford to send a nice ball to junior Akinjide Awujo. Awujo appeared to have a clear path to goaltender Matt Franks, but a sliding tackle from a Cardinal defender got just enough of Awujo’s explosion to deflect him over the net.

In his early days as a starting redshirt goalie kent dicky made nine saves in the evening.

Villanova paid a visit to the Ring Central Coliseum on Friday night to watch the Oakland Athletics home game against the New York Yankees around practice sessions on Friday and Saturday afternoon.

“We just have to be ready for a good team from California,” Carlin noted. “We did a good job putting this one behind us and setting ourselves up for another good test on the road.”

After Sunday’s game, the Wildcats are expected to return to Philadelphia. They will then have a full week off before playing their home opener on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5 at the Higgins Soccer Complex against Northwestern at 1 p.m.

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