Villanova Falls 7-6 in Close Contest to No. 16 Penn State
March 30, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova tied the game on three separate occasions and held a 3-2 advantage over No. 16 Penn State in the second quarter, but the Wildcats couldn't hold on for the victory as the Nittany Lions outlasted the Wildcats 7-6 on Saturday night in Villanova Stadium. With the loss, the Wildcats conclude their regular season non-conference schedule for the year and fall to 2-6 overall while Penn State improved to 7-3.
Villanova had the opportunity to tie the contest in the closing minutes after senior Max Hart (Bethesda, Md.) got the Wildcats within one at 7-6 with just over three minutes remaining in the game, but Villanova couldn't find the equalizer to send the game into overtime despite having possession with a minute remaining.
The Wildcats were within one of the Nittany Lions four times during the game but strong goalkeeping from PSU's Austin Kaut, who made 16 saves during the contest, made the difference. Junior Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) led Villanova with two goals while freshman John Kluh (Lothian, Md.) added a goal and two assists on the evening.
"Their goalie had 16 saves and at the end of the day I think he is maybe the best goalie in the country, or if not he is definitely right up at the top," said Head Coach Mike Corrado following the contest. "He made some big saves tonight but we had six goals on 37 shots and that isn't good enough. We didn't shoot as well as I would have liked but we fought hard the whole game and the effort was good. It is frustrating because we have been on the short end of too many of these games."
After a low scoring first quarter that saw goals from PSU's Gavin Ahern and Villanova's O'Neil, the second stanza favored the visitors who outscored the Wildcats by a 4-2 margin. Tom LaCrosse gave the Nittany Lions a one goal lead at 2-1 at the 12:49 mark before junior Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.) made a coast to coast run in a defensive transition to tie it at 2-2 with 10 minutes left in the half. Just under five minutes later, O'Neil would notch his second goal of the game off a Kluh assist to give Villanova what would be their only lead of the night at 3-2.
Penn State rebounded with three straight goals from Forster and LaCrosse and took a 5-3 advantage going into halftime and would hold their biggest lead of the game at 6-3 after scoring the opening goal of the third quarter with 11:47 left on the clock.
Villanova senior Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) broke the Wildcat scoring drought that lasted over 13 minutes when he connected on a Hart assist on an extra-man opportunity with 6:28 remaining to get the Wildcats within two at 6-4. Kluh's goal at the 12:04 mark in the fourth quarter put Villanova within one of the Lions at 6-5 before PSU's Kyle VanThof extended the lead 7-6 two minutes later. Hart's goal with 3:04 left in the contest would be the final of the game.
Defensively, junior defenseman John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) led Villanova with five ground balls and four caused turnovers while sophomore goalkeeper Reed Carlson (Arnold, Md.) tallied nine saves in the defeat.
Villanova will be back in action on Wednesday, April 3rd when they take on BIG EAST rival Georgetown for the ESPNU game of the week. Game time is slated for 5 p.m. in Washington, D.C.