Driscoll, defense spark win over rival Rutgers

Nicholas Esposito

The men’s lacrosse team kicked off its ’09 season in Piscataway, N.J., against its rival, Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

The Wildcats relied on their bread-and-butter in this contest: veteran leadership and hard-nosed defense. Senior Tim Driscoll led the Wildcats by netting three goals, one of which solidified the win. Junior Paul Webber was also a headliner, as he added three assists of his own.

An extremely defensive first half ended when the Webber-Driscoll connection put the Wildcats on the board within 13 minutes. Rutgers proceeded to tie the game shortly after, proving that it only took one goal to break the defensive stalemate. Minutes later, perhaps the biggest goal of the game occurred when Webber fed senior attacker Chris MacDonald to take the lead. MacDonald missed all of the ’08 season due to injury, but he will be essential to the Wildcats’ success in 2009.

Senior Matt Fritts blasted one past the Rutgers goalkeeper to give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Driscoll tallied again to give the ‘Cats a 4-2 advantage at the break.

Despite an offensive surge by Rutgers in the second half, the ‘Cats controlled play and the outcome. Sophomore Chris Aitken and senior Mark Scioscia added goals for ‘Nova. Senior goaltender Andrew DiLoreto anchored the Villanova defense, stopping 13 shots and only allowing four goals.

Despite the 8-4 victory the Scarlet Knights out-shot the Wildcats 39-29. However, the Wildcats controlled the ball and played patiently on offense and opportunistically on defense in which they took advantage of 12 Rutgers turnovers.

The Big East Men’s Lacrosse League, which will be made up of eight of the country’s elite lacrosse teams, is set to be formed in 2010 and will include both Rutgers and ‘Nova.

Villanova plays Saturday against the Lafayette Leopards at 1 p.m.