April 28, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Providence (2-12, 1-5) took the heightened motivation of the last game of the season and celebration of Senior Day to pull off a 15-11 upset over 13th-ranked Villanova (8-6, 4-2) on Saturday afternoon.
The win marked the Friars first-ever BIG EAST Conference victory as the Wildcats now shift their focus to the BIG EAST Championship where they'll face third-seeded Syracuse on May 3rd at 7 p.m. Both the Orange and the Wildcats will likely need to win the Championship to secure a spot into the NCAA Tournament.
The Friars were led by five-point performances of Sean Wright and Jake Nolan while senior goalkeeper Christian Dzwilewski posted 14 saves in the victory. Villanova's Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.), Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) and C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) each tallied three points in the defeat.
Despite opening the game with a two-goal lead and going into halftime tied 6-6, Villanova couldn't seem to get their footing as the Friars continually had an answer for the Wildcats. After VU took the lead at the start, Providence rattled off five straight goals to gain a 5-2 advantage over the `Cats with 12:04 remaining in the first half.
Junior Max Hart (Bethesda, Md.) broke a 15:36 scoreless streak 4:56 into the second quarter from a Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) assist to close the gap at 5-3, but PC's Nolan answered just 25 seconds later to increase the lead to 6-3. The Wildcats responded with two goals from Cunningham and another from senior Michael Vigilante (Massapequa, N.Y.) to tie the game at 6-6 with 30 minutes left to play.
Providence would go on to outscore Villanova 9-5 in the second half, including a 4-2 advantage in the third quarter. PC took a 7-6 lead at the 13:06 mark to begin the third stanza, but Villanova's John LoCascio (Farifield, N.J.) responded with the first goal of his career just over three minutes later to tie the game once again at 7-7. The Friars took control of the contest for good after three unanswered scores from Wright and JT Weber before VU's Casertano would close out the third quarter, 10-7, in favor of Providence.
Villanova was outscored 5-3 in the final stanza, with scores coming from Matt Bell (Severna Park, Md.), Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) and Hart to close the game. Providence's Andrew Barton, Michael Noyes, Daniel Textor and Greg Fitzmaurice each posted points in the final 15 minutes to secure the Friar victory, 15-11.
With the regular season behind them, Villanova will face Syracuse in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship on May 3rd at Villanova Stadium in the second semi-final matchup of the day. No. 1 Notre Dame will take on No. 4 St. John's at 4:30 p.m. while the Orange and Wildcats will face-off at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at villanova.com/tickets.