By Chris Goldberg & David A. Willauer
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/4/13
Tournament MVP Kevin Rice had two goals and two assists and Syracuse held off a late Villanova rally today as the Orange claimed a 13-9 victory and the Big East men’s lacrosse championship before 2,877 at Villanova Stadium.
The Orange (13-3) claimed the automatic berth for the NCAA tournament, while surely ending Villanova’s season at 7-8.
The Wildcats, though, did make some late noise by scoring four straight goals and pulling within 11-9 with 9:07 to play on Tim Mulrenan’s second goal.
But Rice assisted on a goal by Dylan Donahue with 6:47 to play and Syracuse iced it with another tally in the closing seconds.
Orange sophomore Matt Walters had a key goal when ‘Nova closed within 6-5 in the second quarter. He also had an assist on a goal by JoJo Marasco to make it 11-5.
“We played well against a very talented Villanova squad,” said Syracuse coach John Desko. “The last time we played them here they defeated us 11-10 but the difference in today’s game came in the second half when we went ahead 11-6.
“We made adjustments at halftime – and as you see in the second half we communicated together as a team.”
Nova pulled within 11-6 on a goal by senior attackman Jack Rice, who then scored again to make it 11-7. That tally tied him for first all-time at Villanova in goals scored with 128.
Will Casertano then made it 11-8.
“I loved my time here at Villanova,” said Rice. “I wanted to extend it another week, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
Defenseman Chris Piccirrilli also scored twice for the Wildcats.
“It was a credit to our guys to come back and make it 11-9,” said Villanova coach Michael Corrado. “But I didn’t feel we played our best game. Give credit to Syracuse.
“Right now it’s tough, but I am proud of this team and they way they came back. We went 6-2 in the last eight games before today and that is a heck of a turnaround.”
Corrado spoke about the impact of Syracuse on the Big East as it gears for the move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“Syracuse did a lot to impact the Big East with its great tradition,” he said. “It helped our program grow because I could tell a recruit they’d have the opportunity to play against a team like that.”
Scott Loy had three goals for Syracuse and Derek Maltz added a pair.
2013 Big East All Tournament Team
Reilly Connor, Georgetown, A so
Nick Osello, Notre Dame, M so
Jack Rice, Villanova, A sr
Joe LoCascio, Villanova, LSM jr
Wil Casertano, Villanova, A sr
Derek Maltz, Syracuse, A jr
JoJo Marasco, Syracuse M sr
Dave Lomisico, Syracuse M sr
Dave Hamlin, Syracuse, D sr
Kevin Rice, MVP of the Big East Tourney