April 19, 2014
JAMAICA, N.Y. - Villanova came from behind and notched five straight goals to take a 9-8 lead going in to the fourth quarter, but St. John's battled back and tallied the game-winner in overtime as the Red Storm topped Villanova 11-10 in overtime at DaSilva Field in Jamaica, N.Y.
The loss moves Villanova to 5-7 overall and 3-2 in the conference while St. John's improves to 7-6 overall and 3-3 in the BIG EAST. Today's game also makes it possible for several tie-breaker scenarios to come into play for the BIG EAST Championship, set to take place May 1st and 3rd at Villanova Stadium. Villanova clinched a spot in the conference tournament last weekend with their win over Rutgers but seeding and is yet to be determined.
Today's contest also marked the fourth overtime game for Villanova this season which is the most-ever for the Wildcats in program history. The squad is now 1-3 in extra time games this year while the all-time series between St. John's and Villanova moves to 8-7 overall in favor of the Wildcats.
Villanova had the chance to claim the game in overtime when senior Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) and sophomore Jack Curran (Fair Haven, N.J.) each recorded shots that went wide and hit the post with 2:53 remaining. Following a turnover and a St. John's timeout, freshman goalkeeper Dan Willis (Moorestown, N.J.) recorded the final of his 19 saves before St. John's Kieran McArdle grabbed the ensuing ground ball and scored the game-winner with 1:37 left to play as the Red Storm won the contest 11-10.
The two squads began the game at 1-1 following scores by SJU's Colin Keegan and Villanova's Curran, but St. John's began to pick up momentum following Curran's goal and ended the quarter with a 3-1 advantage off of scores from Kieran McArdle and Kevin Cernuto.
An evenly matched second stanza saw each team post three goals each, including two scores from Villanova's O'Neil and one from Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) off a face-off win. Heading into intermission, St. John's had a two-goal advantage over Villanova at 6-4 going into halftime.
Coming out of the locker rooms, St. John's notched another two goals from Connor Mullen and Cernuto as the Red Storm tallied four straight scores to bridge the second and third quarters.
Villanova would go on a run of their own and tallied five-straight scores as Johnny Gallaway (Middletown, Md.), O'Neil and Curran got the `Cats to within two at 8-6 with 6:35 left to play in the third quarter. Another two man-up goals from Matt McIver (Andover, Mass.) and Devin McNamara (Lutherville, Md.) tied the game at 8-8 and gave Villanova the lead at 9-8, respectively, with 3:31 left to play in the stanza.
In the final 15 minutes of regulation, St. John's tied the game at 9-9 off another McArdle goal at the 5:11 mark. Villanova once again took the lead less than two minutes later when Danny Sweeney (Glenelg, Md.) assisted O'Neil to give the lead back to the Wildcats at 10-9.
The final goal in regulation would go to Ryan Fitzgerald with 2:46 left to on the clock as he connected on an assist from McArdle to tie the game at 10-10 and send the game into overtime. The Red Storm would claim the contest off another McArdle goal, who posted a game-high seven points, with 1:37 left to play in overtime.
Villanova was led by the four goal, one assist performance from O'Neil while Curran added another five points via two goals and one assist. Defensively, freshman goalkeeper Dan Willis captured a career-high 19 saves while Croonquist added nine ground balls and went 13-of-25 in the faceoff battle for the afternoon.
The Wildcats will be on short rest this week and are back in action on Wednesday, April 23rd when they travel to Baltimore, Md. to face Johns Hopkins on ESPNU at 7 p.m. Villanova will conclude their regular season following their midweek game when they host Providence on Saturday, April 16th at home in Villanova Stadium.