Men’s Lacrosse Starts Season with Statement Victory

Brandon Carew

The Villanova men’s lacrosse team had their season-opener this Saturday, Feb. 3 on the road against the No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions and it was a thriller. The Wildcats were losing by five, 14-9, at the start of the fourth quarter. Penn State was fresh off a four-goal run to end the third quarter. But the Cats wouldn’t quit. Villanova went on to score seven goals in the fourth quarter to force OT. John Kluh punched the sudden-victory goal for the Wildcats only a few seconds into the first overtime, clinching a 17-16 win.

Villanova will stay on the road for the next two games before hosting Drexel for their first home game on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

After a big win to start the year, the Wildcats have high hopes for this season. With 27 returning letter winners and eight starters from last season, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Led by Christian CuccinelloDevin McNamara, and Danny Seibel, who  were named to the All-Preseason BIG EAST Team, the Wildcats are expected to finish second in the conference. Villanova finished 9-6 overall and 4-1 in conference play in 2017. 

The list of players to keep an eye on has to start with seniors Cuccinello and Seibel. The leaders on the Wildcat’s attack line are both three year starters and should bring experience and serious scoring power to the field. The two will be mentoring freshman attack Keegan Kahn who will also be starting on the attack line. It will be interesting to see how these 3 play together and if Kahn’s immense success in high school will translate to the college level.

Probably the most important player to watch out for is transfer Matt Barrett, who will serve as Villanova’s primary goalkeeper this year. He was a three-year starter at the University of Virginia, where he had a 11.13 goals against average. In 2015, he was No. 1 in the ACC and 8th nationally with 12.20 saves per game average. He offers experience and will assume a leadership role.

The sky is the limit for this Villanova team. As seen on Saturday, they are scrappy and athletic. If they can remain healthy, they will be one of the best teams in the Big East. The Wildcats are back in action on Feb. 17, when they will travel to Frisco, Texas next to take on the Yale Bulldogs.