March 2, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - A 7-3 run in the second half made the difference as the Villanova Men's Lacrosse team posted their first win of the season over Delaware, 14-9, on Saturday evening in Villanova Stadium. In a contest that featured four tied scores, the Wildcats never allowed Delaware to take the lead as the Wildcats improved to 1-2 on the year.
Senior attack Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) netted the 15th hat trick and the 99th goal of his career to lead the Wildcats in the win while junior defenseman John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) caused a career-high seven turnovers in an outstanding defensive effort. With 99 goals, Rice is in sole possession of 5th place on Villanova's all-time leading scorers list.
The Wildcats used a series of scoring runs in the second half for the victory, anchored by two goals each from Rice and freshman Jack Curran (Fair Haven, N.J.) with assists from seniors Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) and Paul Mita (Berwyn, Pa.) in the final 30 minutes of play.
Following Kevin O'Neil's (Cockeysville, Md.) game-winning goal with 5:33 left in the third quarter, the Wildcats went on to outscore the Blue Hens 5-1 in the final 20 minutes of the contest with additional scores from Eric Gartner (Malvern, Pa.), Tim Mulrenan (Glen Ridge, N.J.), John Kluh (Lothian, Md.) and Curran to solidify the win.
Villanova jumped on the Blue Hens to begin the game, taking a 4-1 advantage in the first quarter with goals from Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.), Gartner, Mita and Rice in the opening 15 minutes and outshot Delaware by an 11-5 margin.
The Blue Hens quickly retaliated, notching three unanswered scores in the second stanza by Connor Frisina, Nick Diachenko and Eric Smith and kept the Wildcats scoreless for 13:32 to bridge the first and second quarters. With 5:04 remaining in the half, senior Max Hart (Bethesda, Md.) tallied an unassisted goal to break the Wildcat scoring drought under a 30 second stall warning to give the Wildcats a slight 5-4 advantage.
The Wildcats and Blue Hens would go on to trade off goals in the final five minutes of play of the first half, with Villanova's John Kluh (Lothian, Md.) and Rice matching goals from Delaware's Sean Finegan to end the half with a 7-6 Wildcat lead.
Junior face-off specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) captured seven ground balls and 13-of-27 attempts for the evening while LoCascio also grabbed seven ground balls in the defensive effort. Freshman goalkeeper Greg Stamatov (Foxboro, Mass.) posted eight saves in the victory while Delaware's Chris Herbert, Brett Anton and Conor Peaks combined for 16 saves in the defeat.
Following tonight's contest, the Wildcats will enter five straight games against opponents ranked in the top-20 of the national polls. Villanova will be back in action on Tuesday evening when they travel to Princeton, N.J. to take on the 12th-ranked Tigers in the Class of 1952 Stadium. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.