VILLANOVA, PA. 4/14/2012 – The Villanova Wildcats men’s lacrosse team trailed the St. John’s Red Storm going into the fourth quarter by a score of 7 – 6. It is a position they had been in before. Villanova trailed St. John’s going into the final quarter of play for the third straight year. And for the third time in three games the Wildcats came from behind scoring four straight goals to beat the Red Storm 10 – 8 to remain undefeated in the conference. When the game was on the line Villanova turned to their veterans to give the team the victory according to Villanova Coach Mike Corrado.
“Our seniors stepped up in the fourth quarter,” said Corrado. “C.J. Small, Matt Bell, Kevin (Cunningham) and Mike (Vigilante), three of those guys scored goals in the fourth quarter. That was the difference. Our upperclassmen stepped up and took over the game.”
“I was not surprised where we were against St. John’s and I was proud of the way our guys reacted.”
As expected St. John’s gave Villanova all they could handle. The game was tied at halftime 5 – 5. Three goals were scored in the third quarter giving the Red Storm a 7 – 6 edge. St. John’s got consecutive goals by attack men Kevin Cernuto and Kieran McArdle. In the fourth quarter Villanova exploded with four straight goals. Senior attack C.J. Small tied the game at 7 with 12:41 on the clock. Senior attack Kevin Cunningham put the Wildcats ahead for the remainder of the game at the 10:58 mark. It was the 17th goal of the season for Cunningham who also added 2 assists. Small connected for his 12th of the season with 8:34 to play putting the Wildcats ahead by two goals. Senior midfielder Michael Vigilante closed out the Villanova scoring with 4:01 left. It was Vigilante’s second of the game and 14th this year.
Villanova also held St. John’s without a goal until just 45 seconds remained. The Wildcats got going on offense and defense.
“Defensively, we mixed it up,” Corrado said. “It slowed them down a little bit. We executed a little better,”
Senior midfielder Matt Bell scored a career-high 4 goals in the game giving him 13 this season. Bell also was credited with an assist for a five point game which tied his career-high in points equaling his output against Providence last season. The Severna Park, MD. native had 8 shots in the game, 6 on goal along with 3 ground balls. Bell scored three straight goals in the first half for a natural hat trick.
“I had some good confidence going in, and when you drain the first shot that takes confidence away from the keeper,” said Bell. “It gives you confidence when you get early ones.”
Vigilante had 9 shots 4 were on goal, while Small put up a career best 8 shots 4 on net.
Villanova put 43 shots on goal to 33 for St. John’s. Villanova Senior goal keeper Dan Gutierrez had 8 saves. Lowman had 13 saves for the Red Storm. The Wildcats had 8 turnovers compared to 13 for the Red Storm. Cernuto scored 3 goals for St. John’s, and McArdle had 2 goals and an assist.
Villanova stays unbeaten in the Big East at 4 – 0. The Wildcats got a grind it out win going into the home game next weekend against Notre Dame. It is a game which could decide the top seed in the Big East Tournament.
“4 and 0 in the Big East is as good as we can be,” Corrado said. “Now we get to play Notre Dame. It’s going to be on television, and should be a great night.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian