Wildcats Look to Remain Undefeated in BIG EAST vs. Rutgers Saturday
April 5, 2013
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova (3-6, 2-0) returns home to Villanova Stadium Saturday evening for their penultimate home contest of the season as they face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-8, 0-3) at 7 p.m. With the conference race heating up Villanova hopes to secure their third-straight BIG EAST win in hopes of gaining a bid to the BIG EAST Championship on May 2nd and 4th at Villanova Stadium.
Saturday marks the 11th overall meeting between the Wildcats and Scarlet Knights with Rutgers holding the advantage in the all-time series at 6-4, but Villanova has claimed the last four meetings since rekindling the rivalry beginning in 2009. Prior to 2009, the two teams had not met in over 12 years dating back to April 15th, 1997.
Villanova This Season: The Wildcats enter Saturday's contest with a 3-6 record after defeating Georgetown 8-6 on Wednesday to remain undefeated in the BIG EAST. Villanova has posted wins over Delaware (W, 14-9) and then-No.4 Syracuse (W, 11-10). All of Villanova's losses have come from teams ranked in the top-20 of the national polls: Maryland (L, 10-7), Princeton (L, 14-11), Lehigh (L, 11-9), Drexel (L, 12-10), Penn (L, 13-9) and Penn State (L, 7-6).
As of the latest USILA Coaches Poll released on Monday, April 1st, Villanova has nine ranked opponents on their 2013 schedule: No. 1 Maryland, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 8 Princeton, No. 8 Syracuse, No. 12 Drexel, No. 13 Penn State, No. 14 St. John's, No. 17 Penn and No. 19 Lehigh.
`Nova Offense: The Villanova senior and freshmen classes have combined to produce76.5% of offensive production through nine games. Freshman John Kluh (12g, 6a) leads the Villanova attack with 18 points while senior Max Hart (12g, 4a) and junior Kevin O'Neil (9g, 7a) follow closely behind in the Villanova point race.
Junior face-off specialist Thomas Croonquist has posted a .577 win percentage this season, taking 116-of-201 attempts. He currently ranks third all-time in Villanova history with a .593 career face-off win percentage.
'Nova Defense: Senior Billy Hurley, sophomore Reed Carlson and freshman Greg Stamatov have all earned significant playing time in goal this season. Carlson has started the last four contests posts a .507 save percentage and an 8.25 GAA. Combined, the three keepers have totaled a 10.51 GAA and a .483 save percentage.
The starting trio at close defense, juniors John LoCascio, Chris Conroy and Chris Piccirilli have combined for 75 ground balls and 55 caused turnovers. LoCascio currently leads the NCAA averaging 4.14 caused turnovers per game and has posted 47 ground balls and 33 caused turnovers this season.
A Look at Rutgers: Rutgers brings a 2-8 overall record and an 0-3 conference mark into Saturday's showdown with the Wildcats. The Scarlet Knights have dropped seven straight contests and losses on the year have come from Providence (L, 10-9 OT), Notre Dame (L, 7-6), St. John's (L, 20-13), Army (L, 10-8), Holy Cross (L, 9-8), Stony Brook (L, 9-8 3OT), UMBC (L, 11-7) and Air Force (L, 11-9). Wins have come over Manhattan (W, 15-6) and Wagner (W, 20-10).
Scarlet Knight Offense: Rutgers averages 10.30 goals per game on offense and surrenders 10.04 goals per game defensively. Scott Klimchak (23g, 6a) and Nick DePaolera (15g, 14a) lead the team with 20 points each while Scott Bieda (11g, 6a) follows closely behind with 17 points on the year through 10 games.
Scarlet Knight Defense: Freshman goalkeeper Kris Alleyne has been the primary netminder this season playing over 570 minutes in net and posting a 9.34 GAA. His 135 saves are good for a .603 save percentage. Alleyne's close defensemen, Nick Contino, Andrew Parrilla and Edward Bartleson have combined for 40 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers.
The Last Meeting (4/7/12): No. 13 Villanova got out to an 11-2 lead at halftime and never looked back as the Wildcats handily defeated Rutgers 14-9 at Yurcak Field on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Villanova remains undefeated in BIG EAST competition as they handed the Scarlet Knights their third consecutive loss in as many years. Kevin Cunningham lead the team with four points via two goals and two assists while John LoCascio posted a game-high seven ground balls and four caused turnovers. Eric Gartner and Mike Francia posted their first career goals while Paul Mita and Ryan DeSimone notched their first career assists in the victory.