Lacrosse teams come up short

Courtney Scrib

March 6 was a day of tough competition and even tougher losses for Villanova lacrosse, as both the men and women’s teams came up short in their respective games. While the men fell to No. 20 Penn, 6-5, at Franklin Field, the women were defeated at home by Boston College, 8-5.

Going into the weekend’s game, the Villanova men held a 4-10 all-time record against Penn, with the last win coming in 2003.

“Penn has become a huge rival for us; they’re a top 20 team and only a few minutes down the road,” sophomore Matt Starker said. Nationally-ranked goal leader Starker provided the Wildcats with several key plays and added two more goals to bring his season total to seven.

Other solid performances came from sophomore goalie Joseph Canuso, who finished the game with a career-high 19 saves in goal, and Marc Creegan, who scored his first two goals of the year.

The Wildcats opened the contest’s scoring with 1:18 remaining in the first period on a Brendan O’Donnell feed to Richie Kratz for a 1-0 lead. At the beginning of the second quarter, ‘Nova extended its lead to 2-0 after Starker scored off a pass from Dan Fanelli. Over the next two quarters, Penn, led by DJ Andrzejewski, bounced back and captured a 4-3 advantage heading into the final period.

“This weekend’s game against Penn was a hard fought battle,” Canuso said.

After Creegan and Starker both scored fourth-period tallies, the Quakers found themselves in a one-goal deficit with less than eight minutes to play. Will Phillps’ goal at the 12:43 minute mark pulled Penn within one. Then with just 29 seconds left in regulation, Quaker midfielder P.J. Gilbert scored his first collegiate goal to lift Penn to a 6-5 victory.

“We had a few mistakes late in the game.” Starker said, “that gave Penn a few extra chances to score, and they capitalized.”

“The game was ours to win but due to some mistakes, they were able to beat us in the final seconds,” Canuso said. “The whole team battled hard for the win and came up just short.”

On the women’s side, the Wildcats entered the game against Boston College determined to defeat their long-time rival.

“Our entire team was in high spirits and our hearts were all in the game,”freshman Becky Gardner, who led ‘Nova with two goals and an assist, said. “The sidelines were filled with encouraging shouts, and the field itself was squeezing [out] all the energy we could to beat BC, as the well-known history we have with BC pressed on.”

The Eagles jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after the first half. Junior Bess Hanley’s goal off a pass from Becky Gardner prevented the Wildcats from being shut out.

By the beginning of the second half, Villanova’s offense heated up, as Katie Mannix fed Lindsay Syphard just a minute in to make the score 3-2. At the 35:13 mark, junior Amy Rocap tied the game 3-3 with an unassisted tally. Boston College then responded with five-consecutive goals over a span of 8:52 minutes. Four of the goals were scored on free position attempts.

In one last comeback effort, Gardner tallied two goals in the final six minutes, but it was not enough defeat the Eagles.

Despite the loss, the team was not disappointed with their performance. One of the Wildcats’ goals was to hold the Eagles under 10, which they did with their strong defense.

“Historically, we have not competed as well against [Boston College] as we did this year,” women’s head coach Shannon O’Neil said. “We really would have liked to come away with a win on Saturday but to compete with BC is certainly a step in the right direction.”

“Our team has all the right components and the capability to dominate any team that comes our way,” Gardner said. “All our efforts were not enough to defeat our rivals, but next time we match-up against a strong team like BC, I feel confident that we will come out on top.”

Saturday, the women host Temple at noon in Villanova Stadium. The men’s game against Lafayette will follow at 3 p.m.