Orange Top Wildcats in BIG EAST Semi-Final, 15-6
May 3, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - No. 17 Villanova (8-7, 4-2) closed the gap 5-4 with over 45 minutes left to play, but it wouldn't be enough to hold off Syracuse (8-7, 3-3) as the Wildcats fell 15-6 in their BIG EAST Semi-Final in front of 3,415 at Villanova Stadium.
Syracuse will go on to face fourth-seeded St. John's in the BIG EAST Championship at Noon on Saturday, May 5th. With the loss, the Wildcats now await their postseason fate for the NCAA Tournament. The field of 16 will be decided on Sunday, May 6th as the picks are announced live on ESPNU at 9 p.m.
Head Coach Mike Corrado states, "I thought Syracuse came out in the second half and did a great job on face-offs. They really controlled the faceoffs. That was tough, then you start pressing out and you give them high percentage scoring chances... I wish Syracuse and St. John's the best of luck on Saturday in the Championship game."
The Orange got off to a quick start as Bobby Eilers notched the first two scores of the game at the 11:48 and 4:07 marks, but the Wildcats netted a last-minute goal from senior Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) to close the gap 2-1 going into the second quarter.
The Orange and Wildcats traded goals in the second stanza and the Wildcats found their stride when sophomore Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) capitalized on an extra-man opportunity at the 12:05 mark from a C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) assist. Syracuse's Tim Desko and Derek Maltz responded with two scores to open the lead at 5-2 before VU's Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) and Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.) got the Wildcats to within one at 5-4 with 6:49 remaining in the half.
Going into the locker rooms, Syracuse held a 6-4 lead at halftime.
The second half favored the Orange who outscored the Wildcats 10-2 in the final 30 minutes, including a 6-0 run in the fourth quarter. Eilers netted two scores while the Orange saw points from 10 different athletes in the second half. Villanova junior Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) captured both tallies for the Wildcats in the third quarter with assists credited to Max Hart (Bethesda, Md.) and Cunningham.
Defensively, Villanova senior goalkeeper Dan Gutierrez (Chevy Chase, Md.) made eight saves in the defeat while sophomore LSM John LoCascio (Farifield, N.J.) picked up a team-high five ground balls and four caused turnovers. Syracuse's Bobby Wardwell captured 12 saves for the victory while Brian Megill collected seven ground balls.