March 8, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - No. 12 Villanova (3-1) makes the short trek to Franklin Field this Saturday to face Penn (1-2) for the fourth game against an in-state rival during the 2012 season. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Saturday marks the 23rd overall meeting between the two schools with the all-time series favoring the Quakers, 15-7. Villanova claimed the 2011 outing on March 12th, 2011 in a 9-8 overtime victory at Villanova Stadium last season. Penn was last victorious against the Wildcats in 2010 when the Quakers posted a 8-7 victory in Philadelphia, Pa. Both schools were NCAA Tournament participants last season, with Penn falling in the first round to Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
Villanova This Season: The Wildcats enter Saturday's contest with a 3-1 record after falling to Delaware 13-9 last weekend. The Wildcats were outscored by a 9-1 margin in the second and third quarters in the defeat. Villanova built a 6-1 lead in the first fifteen minutes but was bested by a 13-3 Blue Hen run to end the game.
As of the latest USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls released on Monday, March 5th, Villanova will face seven ranked opponents on their schedule this season: No. 4 Maryland, No. 6 Syracuse, No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 10 Penn State, No. 14 Princeton, No. 16 Lehigh and No. 18 Delaware.
`Nova Offense: The Villanova junior and senior classes have combined to produce 86% of offensive production through three games. The Wildcats average 13.25 goals per game compared to just 10.25 from the competition, including a .673 shot on goal percentage over their competitors .638.
Junior Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.) leads the Villanova attack with 16 points via seven goals and nine assists while seniors C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) and Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) follow closely behind with 14 points apiece. Junior Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) leads the team with 12 goals after posting a career-high six scores against Bucknell.
'Nova Defense: Senior Dan Gutierrez (Chevy Chase, Md.) has been the mainstay in net for the Wildcats through four games. For the season, Gutierrez posts a 10.23 goals against average and a .544 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 20 ground balls and 16 caused turnovers while sophomore LSM John LoCascio (Farifield, N.J.) has grabbed 20 ground balls and caused six turnovers for the year.
A Look at Penn: Penn brings a 1-2 record into Saturday's showdown against the Wildcats. The Quakers are coming off a 10-6 victory over No. 8 North Carolina at Franklin Field on Tuesday. Five different players had multi-goal games for the Quakers led by Dan Savage's hat trick. John Conneely added a pair for Penn as part of a four-point night while Tim Schwalje and Ryan Parietti each added two goals. Penn fell earlier in the season to No. 10 Duke, 12-8, and Lehigh, 10-4.
Quaker Offense: Penn averages 7.33 goals per game on offense and surrenders 9.33 goals per game defensively. Dan Savage leads the team with nine points (6g, 3a) while John Conneely (6g, 2a) and Tim Schwalje (3g, 3a) follow closely behind.
Quaker Defense: Defensively, sophomore goalkeeper Brian Feeney posts a 9.33 goals against average and a .451 save percentage after facing 51 shots through three games. His defensemen, Reid Tudor, Will Koshansky and Anthony Santomo have combined for 12 ground balls.
The Last Meeting (3/12/11): Sophomore keeper Billy Hurley made a huge save to give Villanova possession, while Will Casertano found Jack Rice for the overtime game-winner as No. 20 Villanova (5-1, 0-0) upset ninth-ranked Penn for the 9-8 win on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, VU improves to 5-1 on the season while the Quakers dropped their second straight to fall to 3-2.