Men’s Lacrosse Falls in Final Seconds


Courtesy of Graydon Paul/Villanovan Photography

Matt Campbell (above) scored two goals for the Wildcats on Sunday.

Anders Pryor, Staff Writer

On Sunday, Villanova suffered a devastating 8-7 loss to Penn in a last second goal to silence the Wildcats’ crowd in what was nearly their biggest and most impressive win of the season. This is the third close call matchup Villanova has had to an Ivy League team, with all three of its defeats coming against Ivies (Yale and Brown).

With seven seconds left, Penn got a steal that would be passed off to senior attack Dylan Gregar, who ran right down the middle of the field to put the ball at the top of the net with 0.5 seconds left on the clock. This puts Villanova on its first losing streak of the season, dropping its record to 3-3. The Quakers, ranked sixth in the country, are now 3-1 on the season. Their one loss came at the start of the season to Georgetown.

Penn came out strong early into the first half, scoring two goals in less than five minutes. Sophomore attack Cam Rubin scored the first goal with an assist from BJ Farrarel, followed by an unassisted goal from senior midfielder Sam Handley to put the Quakers up, 2-0. 

The Villanova counterattack gave it the needed energy going into the half, which was led by senior attack Patrick Daly and senior midfielder Matt Campbell, both of them having two goals in the first 30 minutes. Handley closed out the first quarter with his second goal of the afternoon, followed by a score from senior midfielder Jack Schultz assisted by Ben Bedard to open up the second. Campbell and Daly would both get their second goals just minutes later to retie the game at four. 

Penn then took control of the closing moments of the first half with two assisted goals by freshman attack Ben Smith and Gergar to put the Quakers up, 6-4.

Villanova took over the third quarter with two goals, one each from Daly and Campbell, whose strong presence throughout the entire game was able to put the Wildcats at eye level with Penn at six heading into the last 15 minutes. 

A late fourth quarter goal from graduate attack J.P. Basile put Nova up, 7-6, with just under seven minutes left. In the last minutes, James Shipley scored for Penn moments after a timeout called by the Quakers to tie the game at 7-7. Then came the final shot, which stunned the Villanova Stadium.

This was a special match between these two familiar programs because it is the first to be played under its new name: The Farrell Cup. The name of the cup is given to honor the lives of Michael and James Farrell, who played for Penn and Villanova’s men’s lacrosse, respectively. James and Michael both dies in a car crash in July of 2021. The game began with a moment of silence to commemorate the lives of the two young men. The new tradition also includes a new trophy to be presented to the winning team at the end of each game and kept until the next game. 

Next week, on Saturday Mar. 19, Villanova has a home game against a 4-2 Drexel team that is looking to make some noise and expand its win streak to five. The contest will begin at 5 p.m.