‘Cats drop two against CAA competition

Michael Zipf

After enduring a heartbreaking triple overtime defeat in their last game against cross-town rival St. Joe’s, the Villanova men’s lacrosse team looked to rebound against a highly profiled and talented Hofstra team.

Heading into the match, the Wildcats posted a 5-6 record with a 3-1 record in the Colonial Athletic Association. However, on April 8 the Wildcats fell short in their effort against Hofstra, ranked No. 2 in the nation, suffering a 13-4 defeat.

The Wildcats started off the game slowly, surrendering two quick first quarter goals. Hofstra’s Athan Iannucci connected on Hofstra’s first goal off an assist from Joe Masacretti five seconds into the game. Joe Keysor scored two minutes later on an unassisted goal to give Hofstra a 2-0 lead.

The Wildcats mounted a comeback midway through the game, but were unable to control the offensive attack of the Pride. Villanova’s Chris Collinates cut Hofstra’s lead in half scoring an early goal in the second half. Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, the Pride scored the next four goals bolstering their lead to 6-1 and thus solidifying the victory.

On April 15, the Wildcats faced another formidable opponent as they engaged in a hard-fought and highly contested battle against the No. 13 Tigers of Towson University. Again the Wildcats started off slowly, allowing two quick first quarter goals. Towson’s Nick Williams started the scoring for the Tigers, connecting a goal at the 13:02 mark of the first. Kyle Flat extended Towson’s lead to 2-0 scoring on a wraparound goal at the 10:25 of the first period. Juniors Paul Gevonese and Andy German jump started ‘Nova’s offense after Gevenese forced a Towson turnover allowing German to streak down field and rifle a shot passed Towson goalie Mack DeGroat.

After securing a 4-1 lead at halftime, the Tigers continued their offensive surge, connecting on two more goals to hold a 6-2 advantage with 4:09 left in the third quarter. However, the Wildcats began to mount a valiant comeback sparked by Andy German’s first goal of the game, which halted Towson’s three-goal scoring streak.

German struck again for the ‘Cats, scoring his second goal of the game at the 1:56 mark of the third quarter. Freshman Dan Liva continued to propel ‘Nova’s comeback, notching his second goal of the season and cutting Towson’s lead to 6-5.

The Wildcats generated several other scoring opportunities but failed to execute them, thus allowing Towson to maintain their one-goal lead. The inability to connect on great scoring chances has been a recent downfall for the ‘Cats.

“Our biggest weakness that was exposed was our lack of scoring, not that we weren’t getting the shots but more we weren’t finishing easy opportunities,” senior midfielder Matt Starker said. Down by one, ‘Nova failed to clear the ball after a save from senior goal keeper Joe Canuso, allowing Towson’s Bobby Griebe to score at an inopportune time and give the Tigers an 8-6 lead. Phil Grillo continued to add to Towson’s lead, recording a hat trick with his third goal of the game at the 8:45 mark. With a three goal lead 9-6, Towson would continue to generate scoring opportunities adding two more goals to their total to give them an 11-6 victory.

The victory marked the Tigers 14th straight win again the Wildcats. Although the Wildcats suffered a tough defeat, several players had great individual performances. Junior face-off specialist Chris Collinates won 12 of 20 face-offs and had eight groundballs. Meanwhile, fellow teammate Andy German connected on two of the team’s six goals to lead the Wildcats offensive attack.

Goaltender Joe Canuso recorded 13 saves, which marked the ninth time this season that he has posted 10-plus saves in a game. In addition, the team took several positives from the game as they recognized that they possess the ability to compete with a top ranked team.

“What we can take away from this game is that we played a top-15 team and were going into the fourth quarter down one,” Starker said. “We can play with anyone in the nation as long as we can play a full 60 minute game. Against Towson we were only able to put about a 50-minute effort into it.”

This Saturday the team faces Delaware University at 7:30 in Newark, Del. The game is of great magnitude as the ‘Cats look to avenge their recent defeats and with a victory secure the No. 3 seed in the conference.