Men’s lacrosse dethrones Knights



Lindsey Beakes

Sunday’s cold and rainy conditions in Piscataway, N.J. did not stop the men’s lacrosse team from defeating its Big East enemy Rutgers, 8-4. The then No. 9-ranked Wildcats improved their record to 9-4 overall and 3-1 in the Big East with this win, tying Georgetown for the No. 2 spot in the conference and putting the team in contention for a bid to the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament of only 16 games. Rutgers was not as lucky, as it lost its third consecutive game to a top 10 team and fell to 5-7 overall and 1-3 in the Big East, after beginning the season 5-2. 

Winning this defensive battle against Rutgers was what the Wildcats needed after losing to Lehigh in double overtime last week.  Rutgers had the first goal of the game when sophomore Kevin Hover found the back of the net at the 11:41 mark. Senior Paul Webber answered not even 30 seconds later when he took what could have been a dangerous man-down situation for the Wildcats and turned it into a goal.  Rutgers senior Gerard Beuhning put the Scarlet Knights back on top with an unassisted goal at 9:37.  The first quarter was capped off when ‘Nova senior Co-Captain Mark Scioscia scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season with 9:12 and 4:15 respectively remaining in the quarter.

The beginning of the second quarter put the Wildcats up by two with a goal at 13:48 by junior Mike Brennan off a transition initiated by senior Bryan McCartney. At the 6:49 mark, Rutgers made the score a close 4-3 when Beuhning found the back of the net for the second time.

The Wildcats came out of half time looking to increase their lead, and began to do just that at the 12:12 mark when an assist from freshman Will Casertano allowed sophomore Matt Bell to score. With less than 30 seconds left to play in the third quarter, Casertano scored his own goal off a pass from Webber, making that 11 goals for the freshman this season.

A tough Wildcat defense in the third quarter stopped the Scarlet Knights from scoring any goals, meaning that the last quarter began with a three-goal Wildcat advantage. The first goal of the fourth quarter came late at the 4:44 mark when Rutgers senior Tad Stanwick attempted to close the gap on the scoreboard by assisting Hover. ‘Nova retained its lead 38 seconds later when freshman Jack Rice scored off an assist from junior Andrew Henrich.

 The Wildcats scored the final goal of the game and made the score an impressive 8-4 when Webber was able to net a Bell assist with only 1:28 left to play. Webber had two goals and two assists, making this his fourth game of the season when he scored at least four points.

Rutgers outshot Villanova 27-25 but was only able to put 14 shots on goal, while Villanova took 19 of 25 shots on goal and won nine of 15 faceoffs. 

Freshman Billy Hurley had 10 saves for the day, earning his sixth win of the season, and sophomore Chris Creighton and junior Brian Karalunas led the Wildcats defensively with four turnovers each.  The Scarlet Knights had trouble maintaining possession and had a total 22 turnovers. Junior Chris Ficke and sophomore Nolan Vihlen added to the Wildcats defensive effort with a combined nine ground balls.  The goaltender for the Scarlet Knights, senior Billy Olin, had 11 saves in the loss.

The Wildcats travel to Providence, R.I., on Saturday to take on the Friars of Providence College at 2 p.m.  

Both this Big East game and the game against Georgetown will bring the Wildcats one step closer to the end of the season and the NCAA Tournament.