Comeback Rally Falls Short as Syracuse Defeats Villanova 13-9 in BIG EAST Championship
May 4, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - A four-goal rally bridging the third and fourth quarters gave Villanova a fighting chance, but their comeback bid fell just short as Syracuse outlasted the Wildcats 13-9 in the BIG EAST Championship contest on Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium. With the loss, Villanova's season comes to an end at 7-8 overall and 5-1 in the BIG EAST.
Syracuse's victory earns them the BIG EAST NCAA automatic bid and will likely solidify a top-8 seed in the postseason tournament. It marked the first appearance for Villanova in the BIG EAST Championship game and the second consecutive title for the Orange in as many years.
Senior attack Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) capped an outstanding career for the Wildcats with two goals on the afternoon, which tied him for first place on Villanova's all-time leading goal scorers list with 128 career goals. He ties Chris Sullivan's mark set in 1991 and is the first Villanova player to crack the top-five on the prestigious list since 1996.
Following the contest, Rice, senior Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.) and junior John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) were named to the BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team for their performances over Georgetown and against Syracuse. It marked the second consecutive year LoCascio has claimed all-tournament team honors.
Head Coach Mike Corrado stated following the contest, "I'm incredibly proud of how our team fought all game and made a comeback. We were down by two with nine minutes left to play and that puts you in a great position to win. It's a game of runs and we had momentum but Syracuse pulled out the win. Congratulations to the Orange for a great game."
The contest got off to a fast start with Syracuse notching the first goal of the game from Scott Loy in the opening minutes, but the Wildcats tied the game at 1-1 and 2-2 off of scores from freshman John Kluh (Lothian, Md.) and Tim Mulrenan (Glen Ridge, N.J.) before SU's Hakeem Lecky finished out the quarter to give Syracuse a 3-2 lead heading into the second stanza.
The second quarter featured plenty of back and forth action as the Orange and Wildcats traded goals throughout the period. SU's Kevin Rice gave the Orange a two goal cushion at 4-2 before junior Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.) tallied one of his two scores of the game at the 12:58 mark to close the gap at 4-3. Syracuse went on to outscore the `Cats by a 4-2 margin in the final 12 minutes of the quarter with goals by Piccirilli and junior Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) and a Nick Doherty assist (Bernardsville, N.J.) for the Wildcats.
Syracuse began a run of five unanswered goals that held Villanova scoreless for 19:40 to bridge the second and third quarters. The Orange held their biggest advantage over the Wildcats at 11-5 with 4:22 remaining in the third stanza before Rice broke the drought with 3:22 remaining in the quarter. The senior attack followed with another goal at the 14:48 mark in the fourth as Villanova found their stride. Just over three minutes later, junior Remington Pope (Boston, Mass.) found an open Casertano while Mulrenan notched his second of the game with 9:07 remaining to close the SU lead at 11-9.
Villanova had a few prime opportunities in the closing minutes but couldn't find openings in the stingy Orange defense. Syracuse closed out the contest with two goals from Dylan Donahue and Henry Schoonmaker as SU claimed the 13-9 victory over the Wildcats.
Junior faceoff specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) won the battle at X for the afternoon and claimed 15-of-25 attempts from midfield, including seven straight to bridge the first and second quarters. He finished with game-high nine ground balls. LoCascio, in another outstanding performance, grabbed six ground balls and two caused turnovers. Sophomore Christian Kolderup (Darien, Conn.) finished with five ground balls while classmate Reed Carlson (Arnold, Md.) tallied 12 saves in the defeat. Freshman Greg Stamatov (Foxboro, Mass.) tallied three saves in the final 19 minutes of action while Syracuse's Dominic Lamolinara captured nine in the victory.
The loss also marked the final game for the 2013 senior class: Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.), Billy Hurley (Morristown, N.J.), Tyler Brennan (East Setauket, N.Y.), Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.), Max Hart (Bethesda, Md.), Hunter Broome (Richmond, Va.), Peter Metcalf (Sea Girt, N.J.), Harte Thompson (Chester Springs, Pa.), Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) and Paul Mita (Berwyn, Pa.).
2013 BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Championship All-Tournament Team