Record in 2015: 9-8-0 overall, 4-5-0 in the Big East
Head Coach: Tom Carlin (ninth year)
Key Losses: Midfielders Sean Sheridan and Chris Hill; defenders Colton Bryant and Randy Falk
Key Returners: Goalkeeper Will Steiner, forwards Padraic McCullaugh and Max Kroschwitz, midfielders Miguel Polley, Andreas Bartosinski, Lucas Hodges and Zach Zandi and defender Christopher Bared
Key Additions: Defenders Sean Teixeira, Nikkye DePoint, Shane Bradley and Conor Bradley, midfielder Andres Camacho and forward Jacob Anderson
MLS Academy Players: Zandi, Bradley and Bradley (Philadelphia Union), Teixeira (New York Red Bulls)
Key Matches: Rider home (Aug. 26), Boston College away (Sept. 4), Butler home (Sept. 17), Providence away (Oct. 8), Creighton home (Oct. 22), Georgetown away (Oct. 29)
Villanova had a bright start to their 2015 campaign, winning four of their first six matches, but hit a rough stretch in October when they lost five of eight games and missed out on the Big East conference tournament with a 4-5-0 record.
Carlin has a highly-touted recruiting class coming in this season that includes Philadelphia Union Academy and Haverford School duo Shane Bradley and Conor Bradley.
The talent of the class, which includes high profile youth players like Sean Teixeira and Nikkye DePoint is unmistakable, but the unknown factor of how they will all perform explains why the Wildcats were picked by conference coaches to finish near the bottom half (sixth) of the standings again.
It’s not a bad place to be for Carlin’s squad as they have the potential to surprise a lot of teams, but their success will largely depend on the health of their 6-foot-6 target forward Padraic McCullaugh and how well the new players grow into the system.
Dynamic midfielder Miguel Polley, a redshirt-junior who led the team in assists (six) in his first season with the Wildcats last year after transferring from Temple, will lead the offense and senior goalkeeper Will Steiner will be charged with leading and organizing a young defense.
Nova’s season kicks off at home against 2015 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champs Rider on Friday, Aug. 26, at 4 p.m.