Men’s lacrosse falls prey to ranked opponents

Meghan Kotula

The men’s lacrosse team lost to two ranked teams this past week.

On Monday night the Wildcats traveled to Philadelphia to play the No. 16 Pennsylvania Quakers.

Once again, an offense that at times has been explosive was shut down for most of the first half. Freshman Marc Creegan scored the only Villanova goal. Villanova faced a three-goal deficit entering the third quarter. The Quakers scored first in the second half and began to pull away from Villanova. Sophomore Dave Caccibeve scored on a man-up opportunity to pull the Wildcats within three, but then Pennsylvania scored back-to-back goals to make the score 7-2. Villanova rallied back scoring two more goals, only to have the Quakers go on a four-goal run and win the game.

“They just outplayed us,” Cacciabeve said.

Sophomore goalie Sean Philbin had 10 saves for the night.

On Saturday the Wildcats lost to another ranked opponent, No. 10 Loyola of Maryland. The Wildcats came out strong and gained an early first half advantage on Loyola. However, the Greyhounds then took a 2-1 lead, but ’Nova answered back, scoring four straight goals.

Goals from Matt Lucas and Mike Holloway had Villanova close the first half with a 7-3 lead. Loyola’s Stephen Brundage took over in the second half scoring six goals. Scott MacMullan scored two goals in the closing minutes to pull Villanova closer.

From there Villanova could not rally back despite competing and dominating earlier in the match.

Lucas led the Wildcats with three goals for the afternoon.

“We played well early, we just let it slip away in the second half,” Lucas said. Lucas attributed Villanova’s problems to defensive and offensive lapses that Loyola capitalized on.

“In the first half we shot well against the goalie, and went on a run, but in the second half we just had problems hitting the cage,” Cacciabeve said.

A problem that has plagued Villanova is injuries, and with faceoff specialist Frank Falanga injured for most of the season, other players had to step up in that tough position. “We lost 12 of 19 faceoffs against Loyola; that hurts you as an offense,” head coach Randy Marks said. One player that stepped up was Lucas, who won seven face-offs for Villanova. Senior co-captain Peter Francehetti also has missed most of the season due to a torn ACL. Franchetti was an offensive leader and a key player in the crease.

“Our defense really played well,” Marks said. The defense only had two turnovers in 23 opportunities to clear.

“They displayed good patience and skill in passing the ball up the field,” Marks said.

The defensive efforts were led by Chris Bowman and Owen Corso, who is currently leading the Colonial Atheletic Association Conference in ground balls.

The next game for the Wildcats is tomorrow at Villanova Stadium against the Air Force Academy. It will be senior recognition day, with game time at noon.