Following last Wednesday’s commanding victory over Bucknell, Villanova’s men’s lacrosse team returned to the field at Villanova Stadium on March 13 and extended its winning streak to two after defeating Lafayette, 7-6, in double overtime. Meanwhile, the women’s team faced its third straight loss after falling to Temple, 12-5.
“Temple is another tough team,” freshman Becky Gardner, who tallied four of Villanova’s five goals of the afternoon, said. “We came out strong, but they were faster and we could not keep the ball on attack long enough to get a break.”
The Owls (1-0) opened the game’s scoring on an unassisted goal by senior midfielder Tiffany Pulaski, who led her team with four goals and three assists. At the 10:15 mark of the first half, the Wildcats (1-4) came back and tied the game at three with a goal by Jaime Schneider. Then during a stretch lasting from the end of the first half until the beginning of the second half, Temple scored five consecutive goals to secure an 8-3 lead.
“We really came out strong in the first half, moving the ball well and making some great defensive plays,” Wildcat goalkeeper Jessica Brozena said. Brozena had 12 saves for the game.
In the second half, the Wildcats responded with two goals by Gardner to narrow the margin. However, Temple scored four more goals to seal the win.
“The girls played a great first half – confident and strong,” head coach Shannon O’Neil said. “But in the second half, we lost a little focus and began to play ‘not to lose’ instead of playing to win.”
Nevertheless, the players remained confident of their ability to compete.
“To be able to play with [Temple] the way we did in the first half shows that we can play with high caliber teams,” Brozena said. “We just need to be able to play like that the entire game.”
On the men’s side, the Wildcats (4-1) led Lafayette 3-1 after the first period of play with two goals by senior midfielder Matt Lucas and another by Marc Creegan. With two more tallies from David Cacciabeve and Chris Kramer, Villanova held a 5-1 advantage with 8:30 left in second quarter.
However, Lafayette (1-5) fought back, with both Drew Weisman and Andrew Forbes finding the back of the net to make the score 5-3 by halftime.
“The Lafayette game was a hard fought battle,” senior midfielder Matt Starker said. “We went up by a score of 5-1 at the end of the first quarter, but just couldn’t put them away.”
After scoring three unanswered goals in the second half, the Leopards grabbed the lead with 4:45 remaining in the game. Cacciabeve kept the Wildcats alive and tied the game with 2:51 left to play after scoring off a feed from Starker. Neither team was able to pull off the game-winning shot in regulation.
“Lafayette was very well coached and played very disciplined to their game plan,” Starker, who finished the game with two assists, said.
Both teams continued to go back and forth in the first overtime, but the score remained tied. At the start of the second overtime, Lucas won the face-off and then fired a shot past Lafayette’s goalie Michael Koch, who had 19 saves for the Leopards, to win the game for ‘Nova.
“He had a great all-around game,” Starker said of his teammate.
On Tuesday, Lucas was recognized as the Colonial Athletic Association men’s lacrosse player of the week. He totaled six goals and one assist along with nine face-off wins and 13 ground balls in two games.
In addition to the stellar offense of Lucas, Cacciabeve and Starker, the Wildcats’ defense also had strong performances from goalie Joseph Canuso, who had seven saves and freshman Paul Genovese.
Villanova’s men and women’s lacrosse teams return to action on Saturday. The men will play Binghamton at 3 p.m., at Villanova Stadium while the women travel to Colgate for a 1 p.m. game.