April 27, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - 13th ranked Villanova (8-5, 4-1) travels to Providence, R.I. this weekend for their regular-season finale against the Friars (1-12, 0-5). Game time is slated for 2 p.m. at the Friar Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.
Saturday's contest marks the 4th overall meeting between the two schools with the all-time series favoring Villanova, 3-0. The Wildcats have claimed each contest since the formation of the BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Conference in 2010 and won the most recent outing on April 30th, 2011 by an 11-7 margin.
Villanova This Season: The Wildcats enter Saturday's contest with an 8-5 record after falling to Notre Dame 10-7 last weekend. Despite the loss, the Wildcats solidified the No. 2 seed in the inaugural BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Championship to be held May 3rd and 5th at Villanova Stadium. Villanova will face third-seeded Syracuse in the second semi-final game at 7 p.m. on May 3rd.
As of the latest USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls released on Monday, April 23rd, Villanova has scheduled seven ranked opponents on their calendar this season: No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 7 Maryland, No. 9 Lehigh, No. 12 Princeton, No. 15 Penn State, No. 17 Syracuse and No. 18 Bucknell.
`Nova Offense: The Villanova junior and senior classes have combined to produce 84% of offensive production through 13 games. The Wildcats average 10.69 goals per game compared to 10.00 from the competition, including a .639 shot on goal percentage over their competitors .589.
BIG EAST Preseason Offense Player of the Year Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) leads the Villanova attack with 38 points via 18 goals and 20 assists while juniors Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.) and Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) follow closely behind with 33 and 28 points each, respectively. Sophomore face-off specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) has posted a .611 win percentage from the X, taking 121-of-198 attempts on the season.
'Nova Defense: Senior Dan Gutierrez (Chevy Chase, Md.) has been the mainstay in net for the Wildcats through 13 games. For the season, Gutierrez posts a 9.95 goals against average and a .486 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 48 ground balls and 30 caused turnovers while sophomore LSM John LoCascio (Farifield, N.J.) has grabbed 55 ground balls and 20caused turnovers for the year.
A Look at Providence: Providence brings a 1-12 record into Saturday's showdown with Villanova. The Friars lone win of the season comes in a 13-5 victory over Wagner on Feb. 25th. Providence has dropped matches to Lafayette (10-5), Manhattan (11-9), Georgetown (7-6), Syracuse (10-6), Siena (16-13), Bryant (9-4), Rutgers (8-7 OT), Yale (9-6), Notre Dame (9-1), Holy Cross (11-8), Brown (11-6) and St. John's (8-4).
Friar Offense: Providence averages 6.77 goals per game on offense and surrenders 9.53 goals per game defensively. Andrew Barton leads the team with 27 points via 16 goals and 11 assists while Jake Nolan (9g, 11a) and Sean Wright (9g, 7a) follow closely behind with 20 and 16 points each.
Friar Defense: Christian Dzwilewski has been the mainstay in net for the Friars having played just under 600 minutes this season. The goalkeeper posts a 10.25 goals against average and a .528 save percentage. His close defensemen, Zachary Rogers, Ryan Martin and Andrew Sypek have combined for 28 ground balls this season.
The Last Meeting (4/30/11): Led by the three goal, two assist performance of Matt Bell, the 10th-ranked Villanova Wildcats posted an 11-7 victory over Providence College on Saturday afternoon. Michael Vigilante and Will Casertano added three points apiece while Chris Ficke and Brian Karalunas combined for 11 ground balls and nine takeaways in the win.