April 10, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - Villanova (4-6, 2-1 BIG EAST) is set to make the short trek to Piscataway, N.J. on Saturday night to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-5, 2-2) at High Point Solutions Stadium. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.
The contest marks just the 12th overall meeting between the two schools with the all-time series favoring Rutgers at 6-5, but Villanova has claimed the last five 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 4-6 overall record and 2-1 BIG EAST mark after falling 9-8 in overtime against No. 5 Denver last week. Villanova twice battled back from a three-goal deficit and tied the game with two minutes remaining in regulation at 8-8, but the Pioneers pulled out the overtime victory. The back-and-forth affair that saw three tied scores and two lead changes and the contest marked a battle of the last two undefeated teams in the BIG EAST.
As of the latest USILA Coaches poll released on Monday, April 7th, Villanova has scheduled six ranked opponents on their calendar this season: No. 3 Maryland, No. 5 Denver, No. 9 Johns Hopkins, No. 11 Penn, No. 15 Princeton and No. 20 Lehigh.
`Nova Offense: Senior Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) leads the team with 25 points via 18 goals and seven assists while junior Eric Gartner (Malvern, Pa.) follows closely behind with 18 points. 18 Wildcats have posted points through 10 games this season. Senior face-off specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) has posted a .500 win percentage this season, taking 102-of-204 attempts.
'Nova Defense: Freshman goalkeeper Dan Willis (Moorestown, N.J.) has earned the starting role for Villanova and posts a 9.28 GAA while making 86 saves on the season. His save percentage currently stands at .486. 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 49 ground balls and 36 caused turnovers while senior John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) posts a team-high 54 ground balls and 24 caused turnovers.
A Look at Rutgers: Rutgers owns a 7-5 overall record and 2-2 mark in the BIG EAST. They've posted wins over Manhattan (W, 13-5), Wagner (W, 2-5), Army (W, 9-8 OT), Monmouth (W, 20-4), Providence (W, 12-6), Richmond (W, 10-7) and St. John's (W, 16-13). Losses on the season have come via Stony Brook (L, 12-9), Denver (L, 17-11), Marquette (L, 14-13) and Princeton (L, 15-11).
Scarlet Knight Offense: Rutgers averages 13.00 goals per game on offense and surrenders 10.37 goals per game defensively. Scott Klimchak (32g, 4a) leads the team with 36 points this season while Christian Trasolini (24g, 11a) follows behind with 35 points. 26 different players have posted points for the Scarlet Knights this season.
Scarlet Knight Defense: Kris Alleyne, the 2013 BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year, has been the primary starter in net and has played just under 600 minutes this season. His goals against average currently stands at 10.52 while his save percentage is .523. Four total goalkeepers have seen time in net this year for the Scarlet Knights.
The Last Meeting (4/6/13): Led by the five goal performance from Jack Rice and outstanding defensive play by John LoCascio, Villanova put on a dominate performance to claim their third BIG EAST victory of the season against Rutgers 11-9 on Saturday night at Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats never relinquished the lead and held the biggest of the game at 10-6 with 4:07 remaining in the contest before Rutgers rattled off three straight scores in 55 seconds to cut the Villanova lead at 10-9 with just 1:32 on the clock.