Hoping to rebound with a win against Holy Cross last Sunday, the Villanova women’s lacrosse team once again found itself in a game whose outcome would be determined in the final minutes of play. Despite a strong effort, the Wildcats (1-5) were edged out by the Crusaders, 7-5, in their first Patriot League game of the season. Meanwhile, the men’s team remained undefeated at home after defeating Binghamton, 10-6, on Saturday at Villanova Stadium.
“The game against Binghamton was a very good game for us,” goalie Joseph Canuso, who registered 13 saves for Villanova, said.
After a slow start, the Wildcats (5-1) found their way to the back of the net at the 4:45 mark on a Richie Kratz feed to Matt Lucas. Lucas quickly followed with an unassisted goal to end the first quarter. At the beginning of the second quarter, Kratz added another tally to give Villanova a 3-0 lead.
However, the Bearcats fought back late in the first half and scored three unanswered goals in a span of 2:58, two of which came from sophomore Phil Cavallo. With 37 seconds left before halftime, Rob Williams tied the game at 3-3.
“We started out very good,” Canuso said, “but let up in the second quarter to allow them back in the game.”
Just seven seconds later, the Wildcats gained back the advantage after Lucas tallied his third goal of the afternoon to make the score 4-3.
Villanova carried that same momentum into the second half. At the start of the third quarter, sophomore Brendan O’Donnell made two quick goals off assists from Matt Starker and Kratz. Kratz then scored his second goal of the game to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 7-3 with 9:28 remaining in the third quarter. The teams then traded goals for the remainder of the half, but the Bearcats (1-3) were never able to come closer than three.
The Wildcats controlled play throughout most of the game, taking 14 of 20 face-off opportunities and scooping 45 ground balls, compared to 28 for Binghamton. Saturday’s win also marked the fifth time in six games that Villanova held its opponents to six goals or less.
“[Binghamton] is a decent and young team,” Canuso added. “It was a good quality win [for us].”
Leading the Wildcats in scoring were Kratz and Lucas, who each finished with a season-high four goals. On Tuesday Lucas, who also tallied a season-high 10 ground balls and won eight-of-11 face-offs, earned the Colonial Athletic Association men’s lacrosse player of the week award for the second consecutive week.
On the women’s side, the Wildcats once again demonstrated their ability to compete against strong teams. A goal by freshman Trish Sutton gave the Crusaders an early 1-0 lead in the first half, but Villanova quickly responded. With less than two minutes left to play in the second quarter, junior Amy Rocap scored two goals. Then sophomore Cindy Koza added another tally off an assist from freshman Jamie Schneider to give the Wildcats a 3-1 advantage by halftime.
“We came out really fired up in the first half,” goalie Jessica Brozena said, “and it showed from the attack to the defense.”
Less than two minutes into the second half, Villanova extended its lead after Rocap earned her third goal of the day. However, Holy Cross rallied to score three goals in less than two minutes to tie the game at 4-4.
“In the second half, we fell apart,” Brozena, who made 12 saves for Villanova, said. “We were making bad passes, dropping passes and just all around making bad decisions.”
At the 18:44 mark, junior Bess Hanley was able to get a shot pass Crusader goalie Megan Orr to regain the lead for the Wildcats.
Then three minutes later, the Crusaders tied the game again after Sutton converted a free position shot.
With 2:06 left in regulation, Katie Britt was awarded and scored on a free position shot that would break the 5-5 deadlock and help lift Holy Cross to victory. The Crusaders would add one more goal on a fast break in the last few seconds of play to make the final 7-5.
“In the last two minutes, it came down to who wanted it more,” Brozena said. “And in the end, we weren’t able to come up with the ball. It was a heartbreaking loss.”
Both teams return to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Villanova women travel to Colgate, while the men’s team opens CAA play at home against Drexel.