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Big East men’s lacrosse tourney: Host Villanova takes on Syracuse tonight; All Big East teams announced

Thursday, 3rd May 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 5/3/12
From Press Releases


No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 St. John’s
TV: ESPNU, 4:30pm
Eamon McAnaney (play-by-play)

Villanova defenseman Chris Creighton (Malvern Prep) defends vs. Notre Dame. Creighton, named First Team all-conference, leads his Wildcats vs. visiting Syracuse tonight in the Big East semifinals

Quint Kessenich (analyst)
Paul Carcaterra (analyst)

No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 3 Syracuse
TV: ESPN3/ESPNU (tape delay), 7:00pm
Eamon McAnaney (play-by-play)
Quint Kessenich (analyst)
Paul Carcaterra (analyst)

The inaugural BIG EAST Men’s Lacrosse Championship hosted by Villanova University begins today and will provide some of the best collegiate lacrosse action in the nation. Notre Dame, Villanova, Syracuse and St. John’s have earned the right to play for the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and the action will conclude on Saturday, May 5th in the Championship game slated to face-off at Noon in Villanova Stadium.

Notre Dame (11-1, 6-0) will take on St. John’s (7-6, 3-3) in the first semi-final match on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. which will air live on ESPNU, while the Villanova Wildcats (8-6, 4-2) square off against the Syracuse Orange (7-7, 3-3) in the second semi-final match of the day at 7 p.m. on ESPN3 and on tape delay on ESPNU.

Thursday’s contest marks the 6th overall meeting between Villanova and Syracuse with the all-time series favoring Syracuse, 4-1. Villanova claimed the regular-season contest for the first-ever win over the Orange at the Carrier Dome in an 11-10 victory on March 25th 2012. The triumph marked the first BIG EAST Conference loss in Syracuse history and broke an eight-game at home win streak for the Orange.

Villanova This Season:
The Wildcats enter Thursday’s contest with an 8-6 record after falling at Providence 15-11 last Saturday. The defeat marked the first loss to Providence in series history while the Friars claimed their first-ever BIG EAST win in their last game of the 2012 season.

As of the latest USILA Coaches and Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls released on Monday, April 30th, Villanova has seven ranked opponents on their calendar this season: No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 6 Maryland, No. 7 Lehigh, No. 9 Princeton, No. 14 Penn State, No. 19 Drexel and No. 20 Bucknell.

`Nova Offense: The Villanova junior and senior classes have combined to produce 84% of offensive production through 14 games. The Wildcats average 10.71 goals per game compared to 10.36 from the competition, including a .638 shot on goal percentage over their competitors .599.

BIG EAST Preseason Offense Player of the Year Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) leads the Villanova attack with 41 points via 20 goals and 21 assists while junior Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.) and C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) follow closely behind with 36 and 31 points each, respectively. Sophomore face-off specialist Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) has posted a .605 win percentage from the X, taking 130-of-215 attempts on the season.

‘Nova Defense: Senior Dan Gutierrez (Chevy Chase, Md.) has been the mainstay in net for the Wildcats through 14 games. For the season, Gutierrez posts a 10.09 goals against average and a .479 save percentage.

The starting trio at close defense, seniors Chris Creighton (Malvern Prep), Ryan McDonagh (Huntington, N.Y.) and sophomore Christopher Conroy (Chatham, N.J.) have combined for 53 ground balls and 32 caused turnovers while sophomore LSM John LoCascio (Farifield, N.J.) has grabbed 60 ground balls and 24 caused turnovers for the year.

A Look at Syracuse:
Syracuse brings a 7-7 record into Thursday’s showdown with Villanova. The Orange have struggled this season having lost to Virginia (14-10), Johns Hopkins (11-7), Villanova (11-10), Duke (12-10), Cornell (12-6), Georgetown (10-8) and Notre Dame (8-6). Their victories have come over Albany (12-7), Army (10-9), St. John’s (9-8), Providence (10-6), Princeton (10-9), Rutgers (19-6) and Hobart (13-12).

Orange Offense: Syracuse averages 10.00 goals per game on offense and surrenders 9.64 goals per game defensively. Tommy Palasek leads the team with 41 points via 19 goals and 22 assists while Derek Maltz (26g, 6a) and JoJo Marasco (12g, 17a) follow closely behind with 32 and 29 points each.

Orange Defense: The Orange have used three different netminders during the course of the season in Dominic Lamolinara, Matthew Lerman and Bobby Wardwell. Wardwell has been given the most recent starts and posts a 9.60 goals against average and a .500 save percentage. The trio have combined for a 9.64 GAA and .491 save percentage on the year. Their close defensemen, David Hamlin, Brandon Mullins and Steve Ianzito have combined for 49 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers this season. Junior defensemen Brian Megill has posted 50 ground balls and 32 caused turnovers and is a leader in the Orange backfield.

The Last Meeting (3/25/12): The 14th-ranked Villanova Wildcats posted a historic 11-10 victory over ninth-ranked Syracuse in front of 3,811 at the Carrier Dome on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Wildcats broke a four-game winless streak against Syracuse dating back to March 2nd, 1991 and also handed the Orange their first-ever BIG EAST Conference loss since the formation of the league in 2010. Villanova junior attackman Jack Rice paced the `Nova offense with two goals and two assists while senior Kevin Cunningham added three assists on the day.

All-Big East teams

Three schools shared the BIG EAST men’s lacrosse regular season awards, as major award winners and all-conference teams were announced on Wednesday evening at the 2012 BIG EAST Men’s Lacrosse Championship banquet, held at the Philadelphia Marriott West. Villanova senior Kevin Cunningham was named the BIG EAST Attack Player of the Year and Rutgers senior Will Mangan was selected as the BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year. Three were honored from Notre Dame, as senior Kevin Randall earned BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, junior John Kemp was tabbed BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year and Kevin Corrigan was honored as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year. Awards are voted on by the league head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own players.

Cunningham led the Wildcats this season with 41 points. He recorded 20 goals and dished out a team-high 21 assists. He also had three gamewinners. In league play, Cunningham posted 20 points, scoring eight goals and giving out 12 assists.

Mangan led the league in shots per game (7.47) and was second in goals per game (2.00). The senior amassed 40 points in 15 games, recording 30 goals and 10 assists. Eleven of his goals came in league play.

Randall helped anchor a defense that led the nation with a 5.63 goals against average and a .923 man-down defense percentage. Notre Dame also posted a league-leading .658 save percentage this season.

Kemp logged over 727 minutes in the cage for the Fighting Irish this season. He made 131 saves for a .655 save percentage and posted a 5.69 goals against average en route to an 11-1 overall record. Kemp ranks first in the nation in goals against average and save percentage.

Corrigan led the Fighting Irish to a 6-0 mark in BIG EAST play this year, winning the BIG EAST regular-season title outright for the first time in program history. Notre Dame ended the regular season on a 10-game winning streak, the second-longest in program history. The Irish posted five wins against ranked opponents this year and went 11-1 overall.

The All-Conference First Team was highlighted by five unanimous selections as Cunningham and Randall are joined by Notre Dame’s Sean Rogers, Villanova’s Chris Creighton and Brian Megill from Syracuse.

The BIG EAST Championship will be held on the campus of Villanova. Competition will begin on May 3, with No. 4 seed St. John’s matching up against No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the first semifinal of the day at 4:30 p.m. ET, televised live on ESPNU. At 7 p.m., No. 2 seed Villanova will play No. 3 seed Syracuse. That game will be broadcast on ESPN3, with the game replayed on ESPNU at 11 p.m. Information regarding the Championship can be found on Championship Central.

Attack Player of the Year: Kevin Cunningham, Villanova

Midfielder of the Year:
Will Mangan, Rutgers

Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Randall, Notre Dame

Goalkeeper of the Year:
John Kemp, Notre Dame

Coach of the Year: Kevin Corrigan, Notre Dame

All-BIG EAST First Team

John Kemp, Notre Dame, Jr., G
Jim Marlatt, Notre Dame, So., M
*Kevin Randall, Notre Dame, Sr., D
*Sean Rogers, Notre Dame, Sr., A
Will Mangan, Rutgers, Sr., M
Dillon Ayers, St. John’s, Jr., LSM
Kieran McArdle, St. John’s, So., A
Kevin Drew, Syracuse, Sr., SSDM
*Brian Megill, Syracuse, Jr., D
Matt Bell, Villanova, Sr., M
*Chris Creighton (Malvern Prep), Villanova, Sr., D
*Kevin Cunningham, Villanova, Sr., A
Jack Rice, Villanova, Jr., A

* – unanimous selection

All-BIG EAST Second Team
Zack Angel, Georgetown, Sr., M
Brian Casey, Georgetown, Jr., A
Gerry Reilly, Georgetown, Sr., SSDM
Matt Miller, Notre Dame, Jr., D
Max Pfeifer, Notre Dame, Sr., M
Terence Leach, St. John’s, Sr. M
Jeff Lowman, St. John’s, Jr., G
Bobby Eilers, Syracuse, Sr., M
JoJo Marasco, Syracuse, Jr., M
Tommy Palasek, Syracuse, Sr., A
Thomas Croonquist, Villanova, So., F/O
John LoCascio, Villanova, So., LSM
Michael Vigilante, Villanova, Sr., M



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