November 17, 2016
'Nova knocked out in NCAA debut
AKRON, Ohio -- Villanova’s debut appearance in the NCAA Men’s Championship concluded with a 2-0 loss to No. 24-ranked Akron at FirstEnergy Field Thursday night.
The Wildcats (10-8-3), who defeated three ranked opponents this season, were outshot, 20-2, by the Zips (13-5-3), who will meet Indiana Sunday.
“This was a great experience for our guys, and it was great for our program and the university to get to the NCAA Championship,” Wildcats coach Tom Carlin said. “That isn’t how we approached it. We approached it to win, but we drew a Final Four team at home in the first round. Akron is a great team and they are really starting to catch stride at the end of the year, so it’s tough. We had a lot of freshmen out there and a lot of inexperienced NCAA guys because the program had never made it before. For us, this is the next step. We got to experience it and that was important.
“We were trying to solve the initial first onslaught, and I thought we did that and got into a little bit of tempo. We were hoping to get out of there 0-0 at halftime, but once they got one it made us chase the game. We made some adjustments at halftime to get more attacking, and at that point we knew it was going to leave us wide open. They certainly took advantage of it. Their physicality, pressure and ball movement was better than ours.”
Nick Hinds scored both goals, increasing his season total to five. After ‘Nova failed to clear close-range shots by Sam Gainford, one cleared off the line, the other blocked, Hinds converted on a rebound in the 39th minute. In the 73rd minute, Hinds finished a Goncalo Soares feed after Jonathan Lewis started the sequence.
Redshirt junior Will Steiner made six saves, five in the second half, and sophomore midfielder Zach Zandi took both shots for Villanova, which concluded its fifth 10-win season.