Villanova Faces Marquette in BIG EAST Championship Semifinal
April 29, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. -
The BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Championship hosted by Villanova University begins this Thursday, May 1st and will conclude on Saturday, May 3rd with the crowning of a conference champion. Denver, Marquette, Villanova and Rutgers have earned the right to play for the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and the action will conclude on Saturday, May 3rd in the Championship game slated to faceoff at 4:30pm in Villanova Stadium.
Denver will take on Rutgers in the first semifinal match on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. while Marquette will square off against Villanova in the second semifinal match of the day at 7 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on www.bigeast.com Thursday's contest marks just the 2nd overall meeting between Villanova and Marquette with the all-time series favoring Villanova, 1-0. Villanova claimed the regular-season contest on March 22nd winning 10-8 on Marquette's home turf.
How They Got Here: The Wildcats concluded their conference schedule with a 3-3 mark, falling to Denver, St. John's and Providence and posted wins over Marquette, Rutgers and Georgetown. They won the tiebreaker over Rutgers and St. John's, who were also 3-3 in the conference, by BIG EAST tiebreaking rules.
`Nova Offense: Senior Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) leads the team with 37 points via 27 goals and 10 assists while sophomore Jack Curran (Fair Haven, N.J.) follows closely behind with 32 points. 20 Wildcats have posted points through 14 games this season. Senior face-off specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) has posted a .500 win percentage this season, taking 149-of-298 attempts.
'Nova Defense: Freshman goalkeeper Dan Willis (Moorestown, N.J.) posts a 9.93 GAA while making 129 saves on the season. His save percentage currently stands at .490. The starting trio at close defense, freshman Danny Sweeney (Glenelg, Md.) and seniors Chris Conroy (Chatham, N.J.) and Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.) have combined for 56 ground balls and 42 caused turnovers while senior John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) has tallied 68 ground balls and 32 caused turnovers.
How They Got Here: Marquette finished their BIG EAST slate with a 4-2 record and therefore earned the No. 2 seed outright. They posted wins over Rutgers, St. John's, Providence and Georgetown while losses came via Denver and Villanova.
Golden Eagle Offense: Marquette averages 9.47 goals per game on offense and surrenders 11.65 goals per game defensively. Tyler Melnyk (36g, 14a) leads the team with 50 points while Kyle Whitlow (22g, 10a) follows behind with 32 points on the year through 15 games.
Golden Eagle Defense: Jimmy Danaher has been the primary netminder this season playing over 610 minutes in net and posts a 11.33 GAA. His 99 saves are good for a .460 save percentage. JJ Sagl has also seen significant action in goal and has played over 250 minutes for a 12.24 goals against average and has made 52 saves.
The Last Meeting (3/22/14): Anchored by the three goals of sophomore Johnny Gallaway and a 6-4 lead heading into halftime, the Villanova Wildcats claimed a 10-8 victory over Marquette on Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee, Wis. It marked the first BIG EAST Conference games for both teams in 2014.