VILLANOVA, PA. 5/3/2018 – The Villanova men’s lacrosse team was squarely on the bubble going into the Big East Tournament at Villanova Stadium, maybe on the good side, but still on the bubble. A win against the second-seeded Hoyas of Georgetown would solidify an NCAA Tournament bid. Nova (10 – 5) fell 13 – 10 and their post season fate rests in the hands of the selection committee.
“We are going to be close, we are in the conversation,” said Villanova Coach Mike Corrado. “We have a top ten RPI and strength of schedule at fifteen with three top twenty wins. we are there. I’m sure this doesn’t help us losing. We’ll see, a lot depends on what happens over the next few days”
The Wildcats have been in the Big East Championship playoff since its inception in 2012. Third-seeded Nova needed two wins in their last two games to secure a spot, and got them. Georgetown defeated Villanova 13 – 11 on April 14. That was then and this is now. The common factor was that these teams play competitive games.
“Two evenly matched teams two games in a row it was a one goal game with six minutes to go,” Corrado said. “They made the plays to beat us.”
The game turned on two factors. Georgetown had a possession advantage by winning 19 of 25 faceoffs. Still, the Cats used defense to stay in contention, but a long scoreless streak proved to be costly. The Wildcats came into halftime trailing 7 – 6. They would not score for nearly 22 minutes getting one in the nets at the 7:52 mark of the fourth quarter. Hoyas goal keeper Nick Marrocco made 6 of his 12 saves in that span.
“They played tremendous,” said Marrocco about the way the defense played in front of him. “They gave me some easy shots. They gave me the looks that I needed. ”
“Villanova likes to score in runs, and we were ready for it,” said Georgetown Coach Kevin Warne. “We made some adjustments. We saw shots coming from one direction. If we were able to track the ball we could counter attack.”
Late in the fourth quarter Villanova scored three straight cutting the deficit to 11 – 10 with just over three minutes left. Georgetown got the next two to end it.
Nine Hoya players scored led by Craig Berge who scored 4 times and added an assist.
Christian Cuccinello netted 3 goals and had 2 assists for Villanova. Devin McNamara found the back of the net twice. Goal keeper Michael Toomey faced 23 shots on goal and saved 10.
Georgetown will face the Denver Pioneers in the title game. Or as Warne said they will play for a t-shirt. Denver earned a berth in the final defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles 10 – 7 in the other semifinal. Austin French paced the Pioneers with 5 goals and an assist. Denver out shot Marquette 38 – 26, but keeper Cole Blazer, who gave up 10 goals, made 9 saves to keep the game close. The top-seeded Pioneers started out with a 4 – 1 lead after one, but had to survive a rally by the Golden Eagles who cut the deficit to 8 – 7 with 5:16 to play. Denver had a 14 – 7 advantage in faceoffs won.
Written By: Glenn Papazian