‘Nova falls to Delaware, but looks forward

Michael Zipf

On Saturday April 22, the Villanova men’s lacrosse team suffered a tough defeat as they fell victim to the Blue Hens of Delaware University, 17-12. The victory marked Delaware’s second straight win in the all time series as the team’s combined for a season high 29 goal output.

Villanova’s offense ignited with juniors Eric Heidenberger and Eric Webber connecting on a pair of unassisted goals to give `Nova a 2-0 lead. Opening up games with consistency and executing effectively, as well as finishing on good scoring opportunities has been a recent downfall for the ‘Cats, thus the team was extremely pleased with its ability to grab an early lead.

Unfortunately, the ‘Cats early lead would dissipate as the Delaware reeled off five unanswered goals to take a 5-2 lead with 12:29 left in the second quarter. However, junior Andy German propelled ‘Nova back into the game, scoring two unassisted goals to cut Delaware’s lead to 5-4. Throughout the season, German has been an instrumental force in the Wildcats offense often leading the team in goals scored.

“Andy German has been playing awesome as of late,” senior goalie keeper Joe Canuso said.

After German’s goals Delaware’s offense resurged, posting three unanswered goals to extend their lead to 8-4.

With Villanova trailing 8-4 at halftime, the Blue Hens continued to put pressure on the Wildcats, scoring the first two goals of the second half. Junior Mike Hass responded for the ‘Cats, connecting on a man-advantage goal to cut Delaware’s lead to 10-7, with 10:33 remaining in the third quarter.

From this point forward, both team’s offenses thrived. The two teams combined to score four goals in the last three minutes of the third quarter. Villanova’s Alex Smith and junior face-off specialist Chris Colliniates scored within eight seconds of each other, and sophomore Matt Panneton recorded the last two goals of the quarter to cut Delaware’s lead to 13-10.

Prior to the game, ‘Nova had worked on remaining patient offensively in an attempt to provide greater scoring chances. The Wildcats ten goal out burst heading into the fourth quarter against a high quality opponent provided great morale for the team. Eager to build upon their momentum, the Wildcats attacked hard offensively to start the fourth quarter. They managed to get within two goals of the ‘Hens after Heidenberger ripped a shot from about 15 yards out and junior Chris Mercer recorded man-advantage goal off an assist from senior captain Matt Starker. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Delaware continued to maintain itslead, scoring the last three goals to secure a 17-12 victory.

The loss dropped the Wildcats to 5-8 on the season and 3-3 in conference play. As the team prepares for the upcoming game against Penn State, players look to continue their offensive efficiency, improve their defensive match-ups and most importantly build up their confidence for the conference tournament. Overall, the ‘Cats were generally pleased with their performance, but recognized that they needed to correct a few miscues before the tournament.

“The team played hard against Delaware,” Canuso said. “We just made a few too many mistakes. We can take from this game that we can score many goals and play with anyone. We are talented team, we just need to be able to put a complete game together.”

After their game with Penn State, the team begins play in their conference tournament where they hope to compete in the tournament championship.