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Villanova tops DePaul on PKs to advance to Big East semifinal

Wildcats will travel to Indianapolis to meet Butler on Thursday

Conor Bradley (center) goes up for a challenge against DePaul in the Big East quarterfinal at Higgins Sports Complex on November 6, 2016

Villanova goalkeeper Will Steiner stopped three penalty kicks to lead the Wildcats to a 3-1 shootout win over DePaul after a scoreless draw at Higgins Soccer Complex on Sunday afternoon.

Villanova dug itself a hole in the shootout with misses on their first two attempts, but Steiner, who didn’t have to make a save on the day until the second overtime, stood tall allowing only one of four attempts by him.

Philadelphia Union Academy grads Zach Zandi and Shane Bradley both converted for the Wildcats after misses by Sean Teixeira and Andreas Bartosinski and Lucas Hodges converted the decisive penalty that set of a celebration in front of a capacity crowd.

The Wildcats (10-6-3), which beat DePaul 4-2 at home earlier this season, had several chances to win the game in regulation but goalkeeper Quentin Low did well to shut down the Villanova attack with six saves. Christopher Bared had a 1-v-1 chance shut down by Low in the first half and Padraic McCullaugh hit the crossbar an hour in. McCullaugh and Polley both had shots saved by Low in overtime.

The clean sheet for Low was the first time for a visiting keeper at Higgins Soccer Complex this season and marked just the third time Villanova has been shut out on the year (Temple shut them out on the road 1-0 and they played Saint Joseph’s to a scoreless draw on the road).

The semifinal berth is the first for Villanova since 2011 when they lost to St. John’s at Red Bull Arena. Thursday’s game against No. 2 Butler will be played at 7 p.m. Butler edged Villanova in overtime on a 96th minute winner by David Goldsmith on September 17. Providence hosts Creighton in the other semifinal.