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Villanova opens season with 2-0 win over Rider

Dominic Cyriacks and Seidu Shamsudeen scored for the Wildcats

Matt Ralph

After a frustrating spring season, Villanova started off their fall season on just the right note with a 2-0 win over Rider in front of their home fans on Thursday afternoon.

Dominic Cyriacks scored in the 26th minute on a shot from outside the box and Seidu Shamsudeen iced the victory late with a goal in the 89th minute.

Goalkeeper Carson Williams didn’t have to make a save to record his 15th career but he did need a big play from defender Anthony Dragisics to make up for his mistake in the middle of the field in the 60th minute. Dragisics underhit a bouncing ball at midfield back to Williams that was picked off by Tyrell Moore. Williams made a play on the ball but slid past Moore, who took a quick shot on the empty net Dragisics was somehow able to get back in time to clear off the line.

Despite just the one shot on target, Rider did outshoot Villanova 13-5 on the day and put some pressure on a Wildcats defense that added former Philadelphia Union Academy left back A.J. Cousins, who played 90 minutes in his Villanova debut, to an experienced core.

Playing on a humid and sunny afternoon, each half had two water breaks and was a far cry from games Villanova played in the spring with 10-foot snow drifts in front of empty metal bleachers. The Wildcats went 2-8 in the shortened season so Friday’s 2-0 win was a great way to start off a new campaign.

“It was hot so we defended probably a little bit more than we wanted to,” head coach Tom Carlin said after the game. “We didn’t create as many chances as we wanted to but we worked hard in transition. We had good fundamental, sound defensive work. Our possessions were good. We weren’t getting final product out of it. We got two goals out of it, so you can’t be too disappointed.”

Villanova is back at Higgins Soccer Complex on Monday to host Hartford.

Villanova’s was one of six games involving local teams on the first day of the D1 men’s season on Thursday. The Taylor Thames era at La Salle began with a loss to the school La Salle hired Thames from: Army in a 4-2 final. Eoin Gawronski saved a penalty to secure a clean sheet in a scoreless draw for Temple at Seton Hall. Delaware and Drexel both dropped road games at Rutgers and Syracuse by 2-0 score lines while Saint Joseph’s fell 1-0 to Marist at home.