Offense fuels Wildcat attack

Michael Zipf

In lacrosse when you give up seven goals and allow a lesser opponent to remain in the game, it normally spells trouble. However, the offensive attack led by junior Andy German’s five-goal performance would deter any upset. On Saturday, April 1, the men’s lacrosse team recorded their fifth victory of the season with a convincing 15-7 victory over the Pioneers of Sacred Heart to remain 3-0 in CAA-conference play.

The Wildcats started the game on an offensive surge with midfielder German recording the first four goals of the game.

When asked why the team was so effective offensively, senior midfielder Matt Starker said, “I think our team really excelled in unsettled situations on Saturday. We were able to ride their defense really hard off of our turnovers and had success in regaining the ball and capitalizing off of the unsettled situation.”

Prior to the game, the team had been working on creating space for each other in an attempt to generate greater scoring opportunities. On Saturday, the team effectively executed its game plan as ‘Nova was able to create space with its picks and dodges and took advantage of Sacred Heart’s slow sliding defense.

Sophomore attacker Matt Panneton added another goal for the Wildcats off an assist from fellow sophomore Eric Bloom to give `Nova a commanding 5-0 lead. However, Sacred Heart would try to mount a comeback when Kiel Adams scored the Pioneers’ first goal of the game with 40 seconds remaining in the first half. The Pioneers would continue to put pressure on the ‘Cats with Matthew Robideau and Bobby Karl connecting on back-to-back goals to cut Villanova’s lead to two.

With the Wildcats 5-3 lead slipping away, German would strike again for the ‘Cats, answering the Pioneers’ comeback with his fifth goal of the game at the 9:27 mark of the third quarter. After German’s goal the Wildcats would score four of the next five goals to give them a commanding 10-4 lead. `Nova would out score Sacred Heart 7-3 in the fourth quarter and out shoot the Pioneers 54-25 for the game to conclude a spectacular offensive performance. Sophomore Chris MacDonald and Panneton would lead the offensive attack in the fourth quarter, posting back-to-back goals in a ten-second span. Although many Wildcats would enjoy great performances, including MacDonald, who recorded a hat trick, German would surpass all with his career-high five goals. German’s offensive brilliance built the Wildcats a commanding 4-0 lead – one that they would never surrender.

“Andy German has been playing outstanding for us all year and on Saturday his shots started to fall and they came in bunches,” Starker said. “In the beginning, as a team, we were having a little bit of trouble finding the back of the net, but Andy was there to bail us out and built a nice lead for us to play off of.”

After the game, the Wildcats congratulated each other on their great performance, but their main focus was on their city series game against cross-town rival St. Joe’s.

Heading into their game against St. Joe’s, the Wildcats were trying to continue executing their offensive attack and avoid the slow-paced game that characterizes St. Joe’s style of play. Unfortunately, Villanova would succumb to St. Joe’s slow-paced game, suffering a heartbreaking 7-6 loss in triple overtime.

With the score tied at four heading into the fourth, Starker recorded his second goal of the game at the 13:58 mark to give the Wildcats a 5-4 lead. However, St. Joe’s Mike O’Neil would force overtime tying the game at 5-5 with a goal at the 6:49 mark of the fourth quarter.

Finally, in the third overtime, the Hawks snapped Villanova’s three-game winning streak. Ian Kelly converted on a game-winning goal at the 3:38 mark of the third overtime to give the Hawks a 7-6 home victory. The victory marked the first loss for the Wildcats against St. Joe’s since March 28, 1998.

After suffering this heartbreaking defeat, the Wildcats look to rebound when they host No. 2 Hofstra at home on April 8 at 7 p.m.