April 6, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - 13th ranked Villanova (6-4,2-0) heads on the road for the sixth consecutive weekend to face BIG EAST rival Rutgers (5-5, 1-2) at Yurcak Field on Saturday afternoon. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Piscataway, N.J.
Saturday marks just the 10th overall meeting between the two schools with the all-time series favoring the Scarlet Knights 6-3. Villanova has won the previous three outings since the rivalry was reignited in 2010 with the formation of the BIG EAST Lacrosse Conference and claimed the latest contest on April 26th, 2011 in a 12-7 victory at Villanova Stadium. The Scarlet Knights have not won a game over the Wildcats since April 15th, 1997.
Villanova This Season: The Wildcats enter Saturday's contest with a 6-4 record after defeating No. 20 Georgetown 15-7 Wednesday night in Villanova Stadium. With the win, Villanova closed out arguably the toughest portion of their schedule which included five consecutive games against opponents ranked in the top-20 in the national polls. Additionally, Villanova's tough March calendar included only one home game and put the Wildcats on the road for six consecutive weekends.
As of the latest USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls released on Monday, April 2nd, Villanova has scheduled eight ranked opponents on their calendar this season: No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 7 Lehigh, No. 11 Princeton, No. 12 Maryland, No. 15 Bucknell, No. 16 Penn State No 17 Syracuse and No. 20 Georgetown.
`Nova Offense: The Villanova junior and senior classes have combined to produce 85% of offensive production through 10 games. The Wildcats average 10.80 goals per game compared to 10.30 from the competition, including a .652 shot on goal percentage over their competitors .607.
Junior Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.) leads the Villanova attack with 31 points via 14 goals and 17 assists while senior Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.), junior Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) and senior C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) follow closely behind with 28, 24 and 24 points each, respectively. Sophomore face-off specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) has posted a .635 win percentage from the X, taking 101-of-159 attempts on the season.
'Nova Defense: Senior Dan Gutierrez (Chevy Chase, Md.) has been the mainstay in net for the Wildcats through ten games. For the season, Gutierrez posts a 10.22 goals against average and a .485 save percentage.
The starting trio at close defense, seniors Chris Creighton (West Chester, Pa.), Ryan McDonagh (Huntington, N.Y.) and sophomore Christopher Conroy (Chatham, N.J.) have combined for 41 ground balls and 28 caused turnovers while sophomore LSM John LoCascio (Farifield, N.J.) has grabbed 40 ground balls and caused 13 turnovers for the year.
A Look at Rutgers: Rutgers brings a 5-5 record into Saturday's showdown with the Wildcats. The Scarlet Knights are coming off an 8-7 overtime victory over Providence last Saturday and have posted wins over Air Force (11-10), Wagner (9-5), Lafayette (9-6) and Marist (10-9). Rutgers losses have come from Duke (16-8), UMBC (11-5), Army (9-8), St. John's (7-6) and Notre Dame (12-9).
Scarlet Knight Offense: Rutgers averages 8.50 goals per game on offense and surrenders 9.18 goals per game defensively. Will Mangan leads the team with 31 points via 23 goals and 8 assists while Nick Depaolera (12g, 12a) and Scott Klimchak (17g, 3a) follow closely behind with 24 and 20 points each.
Scarlet Knight Defense: Steven Lusby has been the mainstay in net for the Scarlet Knights through the past four games, but Rudy Butler and Joseph Donnelly have also played significant minutes. The trio boasts a 9.18 goals against average and a .516 save percentage. Their close defensemen, Nick Contino, Christopher Zybrick and Jacob Fradkin have posted 44 ground balls and 32 caused turnovers on the year.
The Last Meeting (4/26/11): Led by the three point performances of Jack Rice, Nick Doherty and Max Hart, the 10th-ranked Villanova Wildcats posted a solid 12-7 victory over Rutgers on Tuesday evening. Eight different players posted points in the BIG EAST win. With tonight's contest, Villanova gains their 10th win of the season which also marks their third-straight year winning at least 10 games.