Wildcats stage fourth quarter comeback



Jon Albert

If you were to ask the members of the men’s lacrosse team what has been their favorite quarter to play over the last few weeks, they would all likely have the same answer: the fourth. After scoring 11 combined goals in the final quarters of their last two games, which were both wins, the ‘Cats continued their dominance in the final period by scoring five times in the fourth quarter to defeat the St. John’s Red Storm 12-10 on Saturday night.

It was the first time that the Wildcats (8-3, 2-1 Big East) had defeated the Red Storm (5-6, 2-2 Big East) since 1995. The win was also the second-ever Big East win for the men’s lacrosse program, which moved to the Big East from the CAA this season. The team is currently in third place in the Big East standings and has three conference games remaining. 

The game was tightly contested all afternoon, with neither team being able to gain larger than a four-goal lead. Thanks to three first-quarter goals by senior midfielder Paul Webber, the ‘Cats were able to keep pace with the Red Storm throughout the first quarter, which ended with the teams tied at three goals apiece.

However, the Red Storm started to pour it on in the second quarter. After scoring the last goal of the first quarter, St. John’s scored the first four goals of the second quarter to take a 7-3 lead. Determined not to take a four-goal deficit into halftime, sophomore midfielder Kevin Cunningham picked up his first point of the game when he assisted senior midfielder Mark Scioscia’s first goal of the game with 3:12 left in the half. Just 45 seconds later, Cunningham notched his first goal of the game to cut the Red Storm lead to just two heading into halftime. 

The ‘Cats continued their scoring run into the second half when freshman attackman Will Casertano scored five minutes into the half. Scioscia’s second goal just 43 seconds later tied the score at seven, but the game wouldn’t stay deadlocked for long. Two more Red Storm goals placed the ‘Cats back where they started the half, but Scioscia scored his third goal of the game with 3:12 remaining in the quarter to make it a one-goal game heading into the fourth.

The ‘Cats continued their pattern of fourth-quarter dominance by scoring four straight goals to open the period. Casertano, Cunningham, Webber and sophomore Michael Vigilante combined to give the Wildcats a 12-9 lead that would stand for the rest of the game. One final Red Storm goal was not enough, and the final margin of victory for the Wildcats stood at 12-10. Freshman goalie Billy Hurley continued his dominance in the net, picking up 13 saves and earned his fifth win of the season. Another key player for the Wildcats, sophomore face-off specialist Nolan Vihlen, had a big game by securing 15 of 24 faceoffs. 

The win was the fifth in six games for the Wildcats, as well as their 10th consecutive win at Villanova Stadium. The team hasn’t lost at home since March 10, 2009. Unfortunately, the team will have to wait until May 8 to play at home again, when they face the Georgetown Hoyas. The team’s next game is this Sunday, when it  faces Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J. Faceoff is at 1 p.m.