Feb. 27, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - No. 8 Villanova (2-0, 0-0) returns to Villanova Stadium for the first midweek matchup of the season against No. 18 Drexel on Tuesday. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Tuesday's contest marks the third of three games against in-state rivals to start the year. Villanova bested Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa., 17-7, on February 18th before overcoming Bucknell 13-12 in overtime last Saturday.
Tuesday marks the 32nd overall meeting between the two schools, with the all-time series favoring the Wildcats, 17-14. Villanova claimed the 2011 outing on March 1st, 2011 in a 14-13 win at Vidas Field last season. Drexel was last victorious against the Wildcats in 2009 when the Dragons posted a close 9-8 win on their home turf. The Wildcats and Dragons have played every year since 1981 when Villanova began sponsoring lacrosse as a NCAA Division I sport.
Villanova This Season: The Wildcats enter Tuesdays contest with a perfect 2-0 record after defeating Bucknell 13-12 in overtime just two days ago. Sophomore faceoff specialist Thomas Croonquist won the final 11 face-offs of the game starting at the 8:18 mark of the third quarter and continuing until overtime. Prior to that point, the Wildcats were just 6-of-18 from the face-off X but eventually finished 17-of-29 for the day.
As of the latest USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls released on Monday, Feb. 27th, Villanova will face seven ranked opponents this season: No. 3 Syracuse, No. 5 Maryland, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 12 Princeton, No. 13 Penn State, No. 18 Drexel and No. 19 Penn
`Nova Offense: The Villanova junior and senior classes have combined to produce 95% of offensive production through two games. VU averages 15.00 goals per game compared to just 9.50 from the competition, including a .725 shot on goal percentage over their competitors .676.
Senior Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) leads the Villanova attack with 10 points via seven goals and three assists, while classmate C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) follows closely behind with nine points through two goals and seven assists. Junior Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) leads the team with eight goals after posting a career-high six scores versus Bucknell.
'Nova Defense: Senior Dan Gutierrez (Chevy Chase, Md.) had a career-day in net against the Bison, making 15 saves while facing 40 shots. For the season, the netminder posts a 9.46 goals against average a and .587 save percentage.
The starting trio at close defense, seniors Chris Creighton (West Chester, Pa.), Ryan McDonagh (Huntington, N.Y.) and sophomore Chris Conroy (Chatham, N.J.) have combined for seven ground balls while sophomores John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) and Croonquist lead the team with nine.
A Look at Drexel: Drexel brings a 1-1 record into Tuesday's showdown against the Wildcats. The Dragons are coming off a 13-8 victory at Albany after falling to No. 1 Virginia, 9-8, in the final minutes of their season opener. Drexel is looking to improve on their 8-6 record in 2011 after going 3-3 and finishing 5th in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Dragon Offense: Drexel averages 10.5 goals per game on offense and surrenders 8.5 goals per game defensively. Robert Church leads the team with seven points (6a, 1a) while Kyle Bergman (4g, 2a) and Brendan Glynn (4a, 1a) follow closely behind.
Dragon Defense: Defensively, senior goalkeeper Mark Manos is regarded as one of the best in the nation and is formidable foe behind the net standing at 6-2', 270lbs. Manos has stared both games for the Dragons and posts a 8.50 goals against average and a.528 save percentage after facing 61 shots. His defensemen, Dana Wilber, Matt Dusek, Frank Tufano and Brian Teuber have combined for 13 ground balls and seven caused turnovers.
The Last Meeting (3/1/11): Eight Villanova scorers, including seven points from Kevin Cunningham carried the balanced Wildcat attack as VU brought home a 14-13 victory over No. 16 Drexel. In a game that was tied six times, Villanova scored two goals in the span of 48 seconds to break a 12-12 tie to defeat the Dragons at Vidas Field. Villanova won nearly every statistical category, topping Drexel in ground balls 30-29, and shots, 37-32. The Wildcats also made the most from the face-off X, winning 16 of 29 attempts.