Men’s lacrosse looks to rebound from losses



Claire Ferry

It has been a story of highs and lows for the men’s lacrosse team this season.

Six straight wins, then three devastating losses. The highest national ranking in program history, now fighting to make the Big East Tournament.  

The roller coaster ride took a dip on March 29, as the No. 5 Wildcats took on No. 3 Brown.  In the highest-ranked matchup ever played at Villanova Stadium, fans crowded the stands with anticipation. The matchup between the two top-scoring offenses in the country should have produced a thrilling shootout, but the reality was quite different.

After twenty minutes of play, Brown had shocked ‘Nova with an 11-2 halftime lead. The Wildcat offensive prowess had not delivered as promised, leaving fans hushed.

A second-half push led by goals from senior Jack Curran and junior Jake Froccaro helped slow the bleeding, and the ‘Cats were only outscored by two goals in the final two quarters.  But it simply wasn’t enough. Brown’s first-ranked offense proved its dominance in the 19-8 routing of Villanova.

“We had chances to score against Brown in the first quarter,” Head Coach Corrado says, “but we couldn’t capitalize, and they were just a really good offensive team.”

Such a shocking loss seemed out of character for Corrado’s squad, but the rollercoaster kept dipping lower.

Only three days later, the Wildcats faced a similar fate in an 11-3 loss in its Big East opener against Marquette. 

Reminiscent of the Brown matchup, a slow first half offensively left the ‘Cats in a 7-1 rut.  Marquette dominated the faceoff X all afternoon, winning 12 of 17 and limiting Villanova’s possessions severely. Just as in the game only days prior, as solid second half performance from ‘Nova couldn’t overcome the first half deficit.

“In both of those games, it was a combination of not capitalizing on offense, not making a lot of defensive stops and saves, and getting beat up at the faceoff X,” Corrado says. “Against really good teams, that’s not a good recipe.”

Following two tough losses, the team’s game last Saturday against Denver proved pivotal in deciding the direction of the season.  While the column shows an “L,” the roller coaster stopped plummeting downward—the Wildcats earned their place alongside the reigning national champions by getting back to “Villanova lacrosse.”

The final scoreboard showed a heartbreaking final score of 12-11, but so many more positives came from the loss than any win-loss column can show.

“We had the lead with four minutes to go against the defending national champions,” Corrado explains. “We’re disappointed we didn’t make enough plays down the stretch to win the game, but we felt much better about our play.”

The Wildcats’ slow first halves against Brown and Marquette had been long forgotten, instead trailing by a single goal to the Pioneers after two quarters.  Led by freshman Joey Froccaro’s 8-for-15 performance, the team’s presence at the faceoff X was much more impressive. ‘Nova even outscored Denver by three goals in the third quarter.

The national rankings only reflect the loss, but the team’s performance last Saturday put them back on track. 

“In the beginning of the season, we were playing with a ton of confidence,” Corrado explains. “Then you lose a couple of games, and that confidence is lost.  I hope we got it back on Saturday.”

We’ll certainly find out if that confidence is back this weekend.  

The team hosts Georgetown on Saturday in another Big East contest, a key decider in the Wildcats’ postseason fate.  The Hoyas’ 2-9 overall record is deceiving—Coach Warne’s squad is loaded with talent and poses quite a challenge.

“First and foremost, our main goal as a team is to make the Big East Tournament,” Corrado comments,”and we still have that in front of us.”

A win against Georgetown will make that goal even more attainable. If the team can close out its final conference games with victories, it’ll surely get another shot at the reigning national champs. 

From a 6-0 start and the highest national ranking in program history to three straight losses, this season has certainly been quite the ride. In the world of sports, though, it’s all about peaking at the right moment.

Luckily for the Wildcats, it looks like they’re climbing.