Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/26/11
From Press Releases
In a game that will go down as one of the most memorable in Philly college history, visiting and No. 1 Syracuse earned a thrilling 5-4 BIG EAST win tonight over Villanova on a goal by JoJo Masrasco with six seconds to play.
A school-record crowd of 6,289 at Villanova Stadium saw the No. 7 Wildcats do everything but win a game that was marked by great defensive play.
Syracuse improved to 7-0 and 2-0 in the BIG EAST while the ‘Cats fell to 7-2 and dropped their conference opener.
Villanova’s Brian Karalunas, a senior long stick midfielder who once again proved he is one of the nation’s top players, stripped Marasco just moments earlier and assisted on the tying goal by Kevin Cunningham with :57 to play. Karalunas finished with six caused turnovers.
C.J. Small and Jack Rice each scored twice and Chris Creighton (Malvern Prep) excelled on defense with four groundballs and two caused turnovers for Villanova, which outshot Syracuse, 30-25.
The match also marked the first lacrosse game between two top-10 teams in Villanova Stadium.
“We’re disappointed with the outcome, but we’re very proud of the way our guys played tonight,” said Villanova coach Michael Corrado. “We had a great opportunity when we tied it up 4-4. We had been facing off well, they won that last face-off and got the last possession, they just made a play and pulled it out in the end.”
The Wildcats held Syracuse scoreless for 25:06 – the second longest scoring drought Villanova has held opponents to this season after keeping Princeton scoreless for 31:11 on March 15th.
The high-scoring first quarter would be the most either team would see all evening, with VU’s Small getting the Wildcats on board first from a Michael Vigilante assist at the 12:12 mark. SU would respond with goals from Stephen Keogh and Marasco, the latter coming on the tail-end of a SU EMO opportunity to give the Orange a 2-1 lead with 8:24 remaining.
Less than two minutes later, Vigilante found himself driving through the SU defense to beat keeper John Galloway for an unassisted goal, tying the game at 2-2.
A Villanova turnover would result in the final goal of the quarter by SU’s Kevin Drew, giving the Orange a slight 3-2 lead at the end of the period.
The back-and-forth possession style game settled down in the second stanza, with Small notching his 12th goal of the season at the 7:19 mark to tie the game at 3-3. The score would stand going into halftime.
At the break, both teams had tallied 10 turnovers each in the back and forth match, with VU dominating face-offs and winning 5 of 8 attempts for the half.
After a scoreless third quarter for both sides, Syracuse would break their goal drought at the 10:24 mark when Jovan Miller found an opening in the VU defense for the 4-3 lead.
Nearly nine minutes would pass before the Wildcats found their rhythm off a gutsy Karalunas play, stripping Marasco of possession near the midfield line before taking a fast break to the Syracuse goal. The long-stick midfielder would connect with Cunningham for the 1-2 feed, while the junior attacker would finish the sequence with a rocket to the low right of the net to tie the game at 4-4.
Villanova dominated at the face-off X, with freshman Thomas Croonquist winning 5 of 7 attempts while junior Nolan Vihlen went 3 for 6. Karalunas let the team with six caused turnovers and two ground balls while close defensemen Chris Ficke and Creighton combined for eight ground balls and two caused turnovers.
Villanova keeper Billy Hurley captured four saves in the defeat while SU’s John Galloway made 11 in the victory.
The Wildcats will look to rebound when they continue their BIG EAST schedule with a trip to South Bend, Ind. a week from today to face No. 3 Notre Dame. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Arlotta Stadium.
Syracuse 3-0-0-2 – 5
Villanova 2-1-0-1- 4
JoJo Marasco 2G; Jovan Miller 1G, 1A; Stephen Keogh 1G; Kevin Drew 1G; Tim Desko 1A; Josh Amidon 1A.
Saves: John Galloway 11 .
Jack Rice 2G; C.J. Small 2G; Michael Vigilante 1G, 1A; Kevin Cunningham 1G; Brian Karalunas 1A.
Saves: Billy Hurley 4 .