Wildcats Face First Top-5 Opponent in No. 5 Princeton Tuesday
March 4, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova Wildcats (1-2) look to get their second consecutive win against their first top-5 opponent of the season when they travel to No. 5 Princeton on Tuesday evening. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. in the Class of 1952 Stadium.
Tuesday marks just the 5th meeting between the two schools with the all-time series favoring the Tigers at 3-1. Princeton claimed the most recent outing on March 13th, 2012 in a 14-8 win over the Wildcats at Villanova Stadium. Prior to the renewal of the series in 2011, Princeton and Villanova had not met since 1989; the current era of the Wildcats-Tigers series currently stands at 1-1.
Villanova This Season: The Wildcats enter Tuesday's contest with a 1-2 record after defeating Delaware 14-9 on Saturday, March 2nd. Prior to the Delaware victory, the Wildcats had lost two straight to No. 14 Drexel (12-10) and then-No. 11 Lehigh (11-9). Following Saturday's matchup, the Wildcats are now in the midst of a five game stretch against opponents that are currently ranked in the top-20.
As of the latest USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls released on Monday, March 2nd, Villanova has scheduled eight ranked opponents on their calendar this season: No. 1 Maryland, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 5 Princeton, No. 13 Penn State, No. 12 Syracuse, No. 14 Drexel, No. 18 Penn and No. 19 Lehigh.
`Nova Offense: The Villanova junior and senior classes have combined to produce 65.3% of offensive production through three games. Senior Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) leads the Villanova attack with eight points via eight goals while classmate Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) (3g, 3a) and freshman John Kluh (Lothian, Md.) (4g, 2a) follow closely behind with six points each.
Junior face-off specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) has posted a .611 win percentage this season, taking 44-of-72 attempts. He currently ranks third all-time at Villanova with a .604 career face-off win percentage following the Delaware contest.
'Nova Defense: Freshman goalkeeper Greg Stamatov (Foxboro, Mass.) has earned the starting role for Villanova and posts an 11.40 GAA while making 25 saves. His save percentage currently stands at .446%.
The starting trio at close defense, juniors John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.), Chris Conroy (Chatham, N.J.) and Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.) have combined for 28 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers. LoCascio currently leads the NCAA averaging 4.33 caused turnovers per game and has posted 17 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers on the season.
A Look at Princeton: Princeton brings an undefeated 2-0 record into Tuesday's showdown with the Wildcats. The Tigers are coming off an 11-8 victory over then-No. 3 Johns Hopkins on Friday and opened the season with a 1-7 victory over Hofstra on Feb. 23rd.
Tiger Offense: Princeton averages 10.50 goals per game on offense and surrenders just 7.50 goals per game defensively. Jeff Froccaro (5g, 3a) leads the team with eight points on the year while Tom Schreiber (5g, 1a), Mike MacDonald (5g) and Ryan Ambler (1g, 4a) follow closely behind with six and five points for the season, respectively.
Tiger Defense: Freshman goalkeeper Matt O'Connor has earned the starting position for the Tigers and has played just under 120 minutes in net while making 16 saves and posts a 7.02 GAA. His save percentage currently stands at .533 after facing 69 shots. His close defensemen, Mark Strabo, Derick Raabe and Nick Fernandez have combined for 10 round ball and one caused turnover through two games.
The Last Meeting (3/13/12): Despite an early two goal lead, No. 10 Villanova couldn't hold on for the victory as No. 16 Princeton upset the Wildcats at home, 14-8, on Tuesday evening. Princeton's Jeff Froccaro paced the Tigers for the evening with five goals and two assists, while sophomore Tom Schreiber added six points through five goals and one assist. Villanova's Michael Vigilante guided the Wildcats with a career-high three goals and led the team in scoring for the first time this season. Villanova trailed just 5-4 at halftime, but Princeton opened up a 6-3 run in the third quarter and finished 9-4 for the second half.