March 1, 2014
NEWARK, Del. - A fourth quarter rally fell just short as Villanova was defeated by Delaware 11-9 on Saturday, March 1st in Newark, Del. The Wildcats began a comeback bid with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and capitalized on an extra-man opportunity to close the UD lead to two at 11-9, but the Wildcats couldn't find the equalizers to send the game into overtime. With the loss, Villanova falls to 1-2 on the season while Delaware improves to 3-2.
The contest marked the 14th overall meeting between the two schools while Villanova still leads in the all-time series at 8-6. Today's game marked the first win for Delaware over Villanova since the 2012 season; Villanova had previously won four out of the past five meetings with the Blue Hens dating back to 2009.
A strong third quarter for the Blue Hens gave Delaware their biggest lead of the game at 11-6 with 4:04 left to play in the stanza and forced Villanova to come from behind for their third time in as many games. The Wildcats stifled the Delaware offense for just over 19 minutes to bridge the third and fourth quarters and allowed themselves to get back in the game and rally from behind.
Consecutive scores from junior Eric Gartner (Malvern, Pa.), sophomore Johnny Gallaway (Middletown, Md.) and sophomore Tim Mulrenan (Glen Ridge, N.J.) closed the Delaware lead at 11-9 with 2:33 left in regulation but it wouldn't be enough to overcome the Delaware lead. Mulrenan notched his score with 30 seconds remaining on two Delaware penalties, but solid goaltending by Delaware keeper Conor Peaks solidified the Blue Hen advantage for the victory.
Villanova found themselves in familiar territory after giving up three goals to Delaware and coming from behind at 4-1 following the first 15 minutes of action. The Wildcats tied the game at 1-1 with 12:27 remaining in the first quarter before the Blue Hens made the most of their opportunities and notched three unanswered scores from Dan Keane, Jackson Finigan and Brian Kormondy following the first stanza to take a 4-1 lead over the Wildcats.
Villanova mounted a comeback in the second quarter with a three-goal streak of their own with two scores from sophomore Jack Curran (Fair Haven, N.J.0 and freshman Kurtis Naslonski (Randolph, N.J.) in just under five minutes to begin the stanza and tied the game at 4-4, but the Blue Hens fought their way back with another three goals to go up at 7-4 with 2:59 left to play in the half. Senior Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) closed out the quarter with a goal with 32 seconds left to play to cut the lead at 7-5 in favor of the hosts at intermission.
Delaware's Tyler Barbarich was a defining factor for the Blue Hens and won 17-of-23 faceoff's on the day while Peaks posted 16 saves in the victory. Villanova seniors John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) and Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.) combined for 10 ground balls and three caused turnovers to lead the Wildcats. 10 players posted points for Villanova in the defeat.
Villanova will look to rebound following a week of rest when they host Philadelphia-rival Penn on Saturday, March 8th. Game time is slated for 5 p.m. at Villanova Stadium and will be broadcast live on national television by Fox College Sports.