Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/18/12
Kevin Cunningham collected five goals and two assist to lead visiting Villanova to a 17-7 victory today over Lehigh in men’s lacrosse at the Ulrich Sports Complex.
The 10th-ranked Wildcats were making their season opener while Lehigh fell to 1-1. Freshman Dan Taylor led the Mountain Hawks with two goals and an assist.
After a 1-1 start, Villanova went on a 6-0 run spanning almost 13 minutes. The Mountain Hawks struck three times in the next two minutes to make it 7-4 before another run by Villanova put the game out of reach.
The Wildcats scored 10 straight while holding Lehigh scoreless for 36:37, beginning halfway through the second quarter and lasting until less than two minutes remained in the contest, when Taylor netted a Lehigh goal.
Villanova capitalized on their opportunities, cashing in on six-of-nine extra-man chances. The Mountain Hawks were man down for a total of 8:30, and had only 2:30 of man-up offense themselves.
The Wildcats are coming off a 2011 campaign that saw them reach the NCAA Tournament before falling to Denver, who went on to reach the final four. Senior goalie Dan Gutierrez stopped 12 of 19 Lehigh shots, while junior Will Casertano (4 goals, 1 assist) and sophomore Kevin O’Neil (1 goal, 4 assists) both contributed five points.
“I can’t think of a much better way to start the year,” said Villanova Head Coach Mike Corrado, “Kevin Cunningham had a great game scoring seven points and five goals. Croonquist played really well against a good face-off team, winning three-quarters of his takes and [Dan] Gutierrez had a solid game in goal for us. All in all, it was a great opener.
The Wildcats held Lehigh scoreless for 36:37 – the longest scoring drought Villanova has held its opponents to since facing Delaware on April 9th, 2011, where they stifled a Blue Hen offense for 42:36.
“We had eight different guys score goals and 11 point scorers today,” Corrado said. “I give a lot of credit to our upperclassmen and we showed a lot of depth. This game is a terrific way to lead into our home opener against Bucknell next weekend.”
Also scoring for the Mountain Hawks were freshman Patrick Corbett, who had two points (one goal, one assist) along with senior Roman Lao-Gosney and junior Noah Molnar.
“I tip my hat to Villanova,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “They outplayed us in every facet of the game today. They were more disciplined, they played harder and they were smarter. I give them a lot of credit, and I’m disappointed in our effort.”
Despite 12 saves from freshman goalie Matt Poillon, the Mountain Hawks struggled to find offense all afternoon, with three of their goals coming in the last two minutes of the contest.
“We didn’t give [Matt] much of a chance,” said Cassese. “We were playing pretty poor defense in front of him. We were running in the penalty box; most of their shots were right on top of him.”
Lehigh won 15-of-27 faceoffs, including 10-of-20 from junior Ryan Snyder and 5-of-7 from sophomore Ryan Buttenbaum (Conestoga). Snyder finished with eight groundballs while junior Brian Hess added five, to go along with an assist.