April 20, 2013
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A five-goal run by Notre Dame to bridge the third and fourth quarters made the difference as No. 19 Villanova (5-7, 4-1) dropped a close contest to the No. 2 Irish (10-2, 4-1) 13-9 on Saturday afternoon in South Bend, Ind. The defeat marked the first conference loss for the Wildcats this season as VU fell to 5-7 overall and 4-1 in the BIG EAST. All of Villanova's losses in 2013 have come via opponents ranked the in top-20 of the national polls.
Despite the loss, Villanova has secured a spot in the BIG EAST Championship to be held May 2nd and 4th at Villanova Stadium with their 13-11 win over St. John's last weekend in Jamaica, N.Y.
Senior Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) led the Wildcats with four goals and posted his 18th career hat trick while junior John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) collected seven ground balls and four caused turnovers on the defensive end.
In a game that featured four tied scores and four lead changes, Notre Dame outscored the Wildcats by a 7-3 margin in the fourth quarter as ND's John Scioscia tallied three of his four scores on the day during the period. With 8:49 left to play, Villanova made it a one-goal game when Rice notched two goals to close the gap at 10-9, but the Irish responded with three-straight scores to close the contest at 13-9 in favor of the hosts.
The Wildcats opened the second half with three goals to match their biggest lead of the game at 6-4 with seniors Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.), Max Hart (Bethesda, Md.) and Rice finding the back of the net off of Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) and John Kluh (Lothian, Md.) assists, but the Irish responded with their five-goal run that held Villanova scoreless for 12:42 to take the lead at 9-6 with 13:06 left in the contest.
In a low scoring first half, Villanova got out to a quick two-goal lead to begin the game as Hart and junior Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) notched the Wildcats scores at the 12:28 and 3:23 marks, but Notre Dame rallied back with two-straight goals to start the second stanza by Matt Kavanagh and Jack Near to tie it at 2-2.
O'Neil notched his second score of the contest at the 8:12 mark in the second quarter to break a 10 minute scoreless streak and to regain the VU lead at 3-2, but Notre Dame went on another two-goal run to end the half off of scores from Tyler Kimball and Kavanagh to put ND up at 4-3 going into intermission.
Despite the outcome, Villanova outshot ND 37-35 and grabbed 40 ground balls to ND's 34. Both teams were 0-for-2 on extra-man opportunities.
In another standout performance, junior faceoff specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) won 16-of-26 attempts at midfield on the afternoon. It marked the fourth game this season that the junior tallied at least 15 faceoffs wins in a single game. Sophomore Reed Carlson (Arnold, Md.) collected 12 saves in the defeat while Notre Dame's John Kemp made 14 stops for the win.
Villanova will be back in action for their final game of the regular season a week from today on Saturday, April 27th when they host the Providence Friars. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. at Villanova Stadium and will also serve as Senior Day for the Wildcats.