March 27, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova (3-5, 2-0 BIG EAST) travels to State College, Pa. this weekend for their penultimate non-conference game of the season as the Wildcats take on No. 17 Penn State (4-4, 0-1 CAA) Saturday afternoon in Happy Valley. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. and will be televised live nationally on the Big Ten Network.
The contest marks the 20th overall meeting between the two schools with the all-time series favoring the Nittany Lions at 16-3. Penn State has claimed the previous two outings in 2012 and 2013 while Villanova last won against the Nittany Lions on March 8th, 2011 in a 17-5 rout at home. The two sides have met every season dating back to 2008 and 10 out of the past 11 seasons.
Villanova This Season: The Wildcats enter Saturday's contest with a 3-5 overall record and 2-0 BIG EAST mark after defeating Georgetown 13-8 on Wednesday afternoon. Anchored by the three goal and one assist performance of sophomore Tim Mulrenan (Glen Ridge, N.J.) and a seven goal third quarter, the Villanova Wildcats claimed the victory over the Georgetown Hoyas at Villanova Stadium. The contest was originally slated to be played on Tuesday evening but inclement weather postponed the game until Wednesday afternoon.
As of the latest USILA Coaches poll released on Monday, March 24th, Villanova has scheduled six ranked opponents on their calendar this season: No. 4 Maryland, No. 6 Denver, No. 9 Johns Hopkins, No. 15 Princeton, No. 17 Penn State and No. 18 Penn.
`Nova Offense: Senior Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) leads the team with 18 points via 13 goals and five assists while Johnny Gallaway (Middletown, Md.) and Austin Frederick (Lutherville, Md.) follow closely behind with 14 points each. 17 Wildcats have posted points through eight games this season. Senior face-off specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) has posted a .509 win percentage this season, taking 85-of-167 attempts.
'Nova Defense: Freshman goalkeeper Dan Willis (Moorestown, N.J.) has earned the starting role for Villanova and posts an 9.70 GAA while making 75 saves to start the season. His save percentage currently stands at .464. Junior Reed Carlson (Arnold, Md.) has also seen significant action in net and claims a 13.10 goals against average and a .500 save percentage. The starting trio at close defense, junior Christian Kolderup (Darien, Conn.) and seniors Chris Conroy (Chatham, N.J.) and Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.) have combined for 42 ground balls and 29 caused turnovers while senior John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) posts 43 ground balls and team-high 21 caused turnovers.
A Look at Penn State: Penn State owns a 4-4 overall record and 0-1 mark in the CAA. They've posted wins over Michigan (W, 22-7), Notre Dame (W, 8-7), Ohio State (W, 11-8) and Dartmouth (W, 10-6) while losses on the year have come via Loyola (L, 12-11 OT), Denver (L, 15-11), UMass (L, 8-6) and Albany (L, 17-10). Saturday's matchup will be their last non-conference game of the season and the Nittany Lions will need an at-large bid to make the NCAA Tournament as they are ineligible for CAA postseason play.
Nittany Lion Offense: Penn State averages 11.12 goals per game on offense and surrenders 9.99 goals per game defensively. Shane Sturgis (23g, 12a) leads the team with 35 points this season while TJ Sanders (19g, 3a) follows behind with 22 points. 19 different players have posted points for the Nittany Lions this season.
Nittany Lion Defense: Austin Kaut, one of premier goalkeepers in the nation, has been the starter in net and has played over 460 minutes in goal while making 71 saves. His goals against average currently stands at 9.91 while his save percentage is .483.
The Last Meeting (3/30/13): Villanova tied the game on three separate occasions and held a 3-2 advantage over No. 16 Penn State in the second quarter, but the Wildcats couldn't hold on for the victory as the Nittany Lions outlasted the Wildcats 7-6 on Saturday night in Villanova Stadium.