Men’s Lacrosse Tops Marquette in Overtime Thriller


Brian Luppy/Villanovan Photography

The Wildcats are tied for second place in the Big East.

Brooke Ackerman, Co-Sports Editor

This past weekend, No. 12 Villanova’s men’s lacrosse team (10-3, 5-1 Big East) won in an overtime thriller, 16-15, against Marquette on Senior Day. 

Fifth-year midfielder Austin Fraser was the star of the game, after scoring the game-tying goal with 32.8 seconds remaining in regulation, and then scoring the game-winning goal with 2:49 left in overtime to give the Wildcats their third in conference win. 

With just 57 seconds remaining in regulation, head coach Mike Corrado used his final timeout to organize the ‘Cats.

“We wanted to try and run our offense,” Corrado said. “We had plenty of time, so we didn’t just want to isolate one guy, we wanted to get their defense moving, spinning.” 

After the timeout, midfielder Matt Campbell missed his shot, but Villanova retrieved the ball to give Fraser the chance to even the score and send the Wildcats into their first overtime of the 2023 season. 

“[We told them] to just try and make sure they didn’t do too much,” Corrado said, heading into overtime. “[I said to] make the easy pass, pick up the ground balls and communicate well. Don’t lose focus on the basics, and try to stay calm in the chaotic moment.” 

And that’s exactly what the ‘Cats did. 

After winning the overtime faceoff, Villanova held possession as Fraser dodged two defenders, and charged forward towards the net, firing off a shot that would hand Villanova a victory.

“It was great,” Corrado said. “It was a beautiful day, we had a great crowd and to win that game that way is really exciting, it really energizes you.” 

But it wasn’t just the offensive efforts that helped the ‘Cats to secure their comeback win. 

Faceoff specialist Justin Coppola was the Wildcat who racked up the most accolades of the day. In the matchup, Coppola broke the program’s career record for faceoff wins with the 591st of his career. He was 20-of-30 at the X, making him just one faceoff short of matching his single-game career high. 

“It’s about consistency,” Corrado said about Coppola. “Justin’s got a really great temperament for the position. He’s healthy, he’s tough, he’s in great shape … to be able to handle the physical demands of that position, and to break that record is quite an accomplishment. I’m just really excited for him.” 

Other standout players in the matchup included freshman defenseman David Evanchick and junior defenseman Reid Colwell. Evanchick had two caused turnovers for the fifth time this season, with one being the play that gave the Wildcats possession late in regulation. As for Colwell, he had a team high three caused turnovers on the day, and added on five ground balls. 

“[Evanchick] and [Reid] were matched up against two really good attackmen, and they [handled] it well,” Corrado said. 

On the season, Evanchick has 14 caused turnovers and 28 ground balls, while Colwell has 21 caused turnovers and 33 ground balls. 

Before the thrilling finish, the first three quarters of the game were fast paced between the two Big East teams. The teams combined for four goals within the first five minutes of both the first and second quarters, with Villanova going up, 4-1, in the start. 

“As a coach I didn’t like the way we were playing, even though we had a three goal lead,” Corrado said. “I don’t think we played our best half – everything was a step slow — but it happens.” 

Come halftime, the Wildcats were down, 9-7, but after scoring seven goals in the third quarter, Villanova regained its lead to head into the final quarter of play, 14-12. 

“Marquette is a really good team,” Corrado said. “I think we all figured it was gonna be a close game, and that’s exactly what it was.” 

On the day, the Wildcats outshot the Golden Eagles, 51-25, and won a season-high 21 faceoffs. 

“We started winning a bunch of faceoffs, and dominated control of the ball later in the game,” Corrado said. “I think that led to us getting a ton of shots — we just kept the pressure on them, and wore them down a little bit. I don’t know, we scored enough to win.”

With the Senior Day win behind them, the Wildcats are now tied for second place in the regular season conference standings with Denver, as Villanova takes on first place No. 9 Georgetown (9-3, 4-1 Big East) on Friday, April 28th at 7 p.m. on Cooper Field.

“It [should be] a great game,” Corrado said, “Two rivalry schools with a game that has some implications for the seedings in the tournament. Friday night down there is gonna be a fun environment, and a great challenge for our guys.”