Anders Said It: Campbell Will Lead ‘Nova in BE Tournament


Brian Luppy/Villanovan Photography

Matt Campbell (above) is Villanova’s all time leader in goals scored at 152.

Anders Pryor, Staff Writer

Last year, Villanova’s men’s lacrosse team had a crushing, 8-7, loss to Penn, and the winning goal was scored with less than one second left on the clock. It was a brutal defeat that put a screeching halt to all of the ‘Cats’ early momentum.

This year, the Wildcats got their rematch. Despite a third-quarter surge from the Quakers, a back-and-forth fourth quarter ended in a 9-8 victory for Villanova. The tying goal came from fifth-year midfielder Matt Campbell, who has been a vital leader on the team for several years. His journey to glory will come to a close this year, as he looks to repeat history with vengeance against a familiar opponent in Georgetown. 

Campbell is used to greatness. That’s the simple way to put it. Earlier this season, Campbell broke the Wildcats all-time record for both goals scored and points earned, cementing himself as one of the program’s greatest players ever.

In the last game of his fifth and final year on Friday, April 28th, he scored the first goal of the game against Georgetown to tie the score, 1-1. That was his only goal of the game, and the last of his regular-season career, before Villanova fell to the Hoyas, 12-8. It was just his fourth outing of the entire season with one or fewer goals, and just his sixth with three or fewer total points. A weak finish, by Campbell’s standards, at least. 

Villanova’s strong season last year came to a disappointing end at the hands of the same Georgetown team in the 2022 Big East Championship game. The ‘Cats had a late 8-3 surge in the end, but it wasn’t enough to cover the deficit as they lost, 14-12.

Campbell had three goals and five points in that game, an astounding performance, and another day at the office for him that seemingly went to waste. It would have been a sorrowful end to his historic career in a lacrosse helmet, but thankfully, it wasn’t.

Campbell’s fifth year has been strong from start to finish, and the best part is that the final chapter could be poetry. Georgetown will be the No.1 seed in the Big East Tournament this year, while Villanova will be the No.3 seed, the same seeds both programs were last year.

That means that there is a path for a rematch in the final. And what better way for Campbell to finish off his career than to get revenge on the Hoyas and send the Wildcats to the postseason?

Villanova is ranked 12th in the nation and is 10-4 on the year, yet its spotlight still seems small. The team’s record has improved every year for the past few years, going from 7-5 to 9-6 to 10-4, but still it has not received the same buzz from students as other ascending teams like women’s basketball or softball. A crowning moment for Campbell to finish off his career would grant himself and the team the attention they’ve deserved for so long. 

Georgetown has won 10 straight games against Villanova and has a lead on the all-time record, 21-20. Campbell can be the one to break the streak, tie the record and immortalize himself and this year’s Wildcats, while solidifying himself as one of Villanova’s all-time greatest athletes.