LAX: Second-half onslaught propels ‘Cats over Hawks

Michael Zipf

Heading into their matchup against cross-town rival Saint Joseph’s, many of the men’s lacrosse players had their hearts set on avenging last year’s double-overtime defeat.

The first half of the game featured an even battle, with the Wildcats jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Hawks countered their attack, connecting on two goals towards the end of the half. However, the ‘Cats enhanced their play in the second half, particularly on the offensive end, where junior attacker Chris MacDonald’s hat trick led them. The Wildcats’ second half offensive barrage featured eight of the team’s 10 goals with five different players connecting on goals to secure a 10-4 victory over the Hawks.

“It was nice to see the team come out strong in the second half,” said defender Greg Safran. “We played some of the best lacrosse we have played all season.”

After a scoreless second period and facing a close battle with St. Joe’s, Villanova ignited an offensive surge in the early moments of the second half. Senior Eric Heidenberger started the scoring affair, connecting on his second goal of the game to give Villanova a 3-2 lead. Moments later, MacDonald recorded his first of three goals off an assist from junior midfielder Tim Atkins. Down by three goals, St. Joe’s attempted to mount a comeback as sophomore attacker Chris O’Neil and junior midfielder Steve O’Brien cut the deficit to two. However, two of Villanova’s senior midfielders, Andy German and Chris Collinate, preserved the victory and thwarted the Hawks’ comeback by scoring back-to-back unassisted goals to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead. A goal by senior defensive midfielder Mike Hass and two more goals by MacDonald put the game out of reach, allowing the ‘Cats to capture their third victory of the season.

“I thought we played with a lot of confidence in the second half and were able to stick our shots and move the ball well,” Safran said. “All season long we have been stressing the importance of playing with confidence.”

The ‘Cats next game is against Towson on Saturday.

Although seven different players scored goals for the Villanova women’s lacrosse team, their valiant efforts fell short as St. Joe’s defeated the Wildcats 13-7 on March 13. The team demonstrated great offensive output, but a porous defense proved to be the culprit of the team’s defeat; Villanova surrendered seven first-half goals. Allowing the first two goals of the game, Villanova rebounded when freshman Meredith Kolmer recorded her first career goal to draw the Wildcats within one point. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, St. Joe’s notched the next three goals and took a 5-2 lead, one that they never relinquished. Goals by freshmen Kyler O’Shea and Britany Flem inched the ‘Cats closer, but the Hawks possessed too much offensive firepower, as five different players connected on multiple goals in the game.

A bright spot for the Wildcats was their effectiveness off free-ball opportunities. For the second consecutive game, the Wildcats scored three of their goals off free-position opportunities, with O’Shea, Flem and junior Stevie McFadden notching goals. Additionally, Villanova did an effective job in draw controls, holding an 8-4 advantage in the first half. However, the defeat marked the third loss of the season for ‘Cats, placing their record at 2-3. As the team prepares for its next game against Iona, the players look to build upon their offensive efforts against St. Joe’s while strengthening their defensive presence.