VILLANOVA, PA. 4/1/2017 – The Villanova Wildcats men’s lacrosse team opened the Big East portion of their schedule hosting the Golden Eagles of Marquette on a cloudy, chilly, windy day at Villanova Stadium. The 20th ranked Wildcats came into the game on a four-game winning streak, and built on that getting a come from behind win on a goal by Christian Cuccinello with 1:31 remaining in overtime to earn a 10 – 9 victory.
“We knew this would be a dog fight coming in,” Cuccinello said. “We had to keep our head up when they made their runs. We came out slow, but stuck with it.”
Villanova never led in the game. Marquette got off to a 3 – 0 lead. The Wildcats would answer with 2 scores by Christian Cuccinello, his first two of a career-high 5 goals on the day. Still the Golden Eagles kept ahead leading 5 – 3 after the first 15 minutes of play, and 7 – 5 at intermission.
Villanova began their comeback in the second half getting a proximity goal by Timmy Hardy, his second of the year. Cuccinello tied the game at 7 with 8:06 remaining in the third. However, the Golden Eagles got back to back tallies by Andy DeMichiei and Ryan McNamara to again lead by two. Villanova leading scorer Jack Curran found the back of the net with 1:13 remaining in third to get his team to within one to start the 4th quarter.
The Wildcats turned up the defense getting stops and held the Golden Eagles scoreless in the final quarter. The defense turned the tide.
“Absolutely,” said Corrado. “It is hard to string goals together in that game. You have to earn everything you get from them (Marquette).”
Villanova got the only goal of the fourth, a score by Curran, his second of the game and 28th of the year at 4:05 to tie the contest.
In the overtime Marquette won the faceoff, but turned the ball over with just under two minutes on the clock giving Nova the opportunity they needed.
The Wildcats kept the pressure on and finally got the unassisted game-winner from Cuccinello who has 23 goals this year. He added an assist for a team-high tying 42 points.
“I knew I could get underneath him (the Marquette defender) and maybe get a flag or a goal,” said Cuccinello. “I went for it and it went well.”
Curran scored twice and also has 42 points. Jake Froccaro added a goal and an assist. T.J. Comizio scored his first career-goal. Goal Keeper Nick Testa made 11 saves to get the win, none more important the the one with 3 seconds remaining in regulation off a shot by McNamara. Marquette goal keeper Cole Blazer made 8 saves.
Villanova improves their record to 6 – 4, 1 – 0 in the Big East. The Wildcats travel to Denver for the next game. Nova has Big East win number one, an important one, and will play league games for the remaining four games on the schedule.
“In a league that has only six teams, we have five league games and each one is magnified,” Corrado said. “For us to get this win is important. We have won five in a row and we can keep this momentum.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian