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Men’s lacrosse preview: Villanova hosts Delaware tonight in HEADstrong Foundation benefit game

Saturday, 9th April 2011

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Events, Posted 4/9/11
From Press Releases

No. 11 Villanova (7-3, 0-2) returns home to host their final non-conference matchup of the season versus their former CAA rival in No. 17 Delaware (7-3, 3-0) tonight at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats are coming off a 12-8 defeat at No. 2 Notre Dame on April 2nd after facing No. 1 Syracuse the week prior on March 26th. The Blue Hens have won three straight league games, defeating Drexel 9-7 in their last outing.

The contest – which will also will benefit the HEADstrong Foundation (apparel will be sold and the cages will have lime green nets) and feature a free Kids Club from 5:45-7 – will mark the 11th overall meeting between the two schools, with Villanova holding the 7-4 advantage in the all-time series. Villanova claimed the latest victory in the series on March 20th, 2010 in an 11-8 victory in Newark, Del. The Blue Hens last won on March 22nd, 2008.

Villanova This Season: The Wildcats enter Saturday’s contest with a 7-3 record after falling, 12-8, at No. 2 Notre Dame on April 2nd.
Three of Villanova’s seven wins have come against opponents ranked at the time of their meetings: the Wildcats bested No. 16 Drexel, 14-13, in a Philadelphia showdown, and also topped No. 9 Penn, 9-8 in VU’s lone overtime game of the season. Against No. 11 Princeton, Villanova claimed their first-ever win against the Tigers, 10-9, in the Class of 1952 Stadium.
Villanova’s Last Outing: Villanova held the upper-hand throughout the first quarter, but the effort wouldn’t sustain as No. 2 Notre Dame captured the 12-8 victory in front of 2,655 in Arlotta Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats were led by the three goal, one assist effort of junior CJ Burke and defensively by senior Brian Karalunas and junior Chris Creighton, both of whom collected four ground balls and three caused turnovers for the afternoon.

‘Nova Offense: Villanova has had 13 different players contribute on offense this season and is highlighted by the offensive scoring from the sophomore and junior classes. The junior class has produced 53% of total points on the season, while the sophomores have contributed to 42% of total team production. The senior and freshman classes combine for only 5% of total team points. Junior attackman Kevin Cunningham (21g, 16a, 37pts.), Villanova’s point leader, is responsible for 23% of total team points.
Villanova has been dominating at face-offs this season, with freshman Thomas Croonquist and junior Nolan Vihlen winning 116 of 197 attempts on the year, good for a combined .588 win percentage.

Additionally, versus their opponents, the Wildcats average 9.90 goals per game compared to the 8.20 of their competition and claim a .632 shot on goal percentage over their competitors .563.

‘Nova Defense: Netminder Billy Hurley has been the staple between the pipes for the season, totaling over 595 minutes while making 79 saves on the year.
Senior LSM Brian Karalunas continues to hold is spot atop the NCAA rankings in caused turnovers per game, averaging 4.60 takeaways per contest. For the season, Karalunas has 46 takeaways and 64 ground balls on the year, while the starting trio at close defense: juniors Chris Creighton (Malvern Prep), Ryan McDonagh, and senior Chris Ficke have combined for 55 ground balls and 26 caused turnovers through Villanova’s nine games.

Delaware’s Last Outing: Despite once again falling behind by multiple goals in the opening quarter, the No. 18 ranked Blue Hens stormed back and came through again, remaining atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings with a 9-7 victory over host Drexel at blustery Vidas Field Saturday afternoon. The Blue Hens won their third straight game and extend their win streak over conference opponents to eight straight dating back to last April.

Delaware this Season: Delaware will bring an identical 7-3 record into Saturday’s showdown with the Wildcats. The Blue Hens are riding a three-game win streak over No. 4 Hofstra (7-6), Towson (8-7) and Drexel (9-7), and are undefeated in CAA Conference action.

Blue Hen Offense: The Blue Hens average 9.90 goals per game on offense and surrender 9.00 goals per game defensively. Junior Eric Smith leads the team with 28 points through 15 goals and 13 assists while junior Grant Kaleikau, sophomore Sean Finegan and senior Nick Elsmo follow closely behind with 21, 18 and 16 points apiece, respectively.
Delaware Defense: Senior goalkeeper Noah Fossner has started all 10 games in goal and records a 7-3 record in net for the season. He posts 8.97 goals-against average and a .537 save percentage.

Last Time vs. Delaware (3/20/10): The Villanova Wildcats brought home their fourth win of the season against previous CAA conference rival Delaware, winning in Delaware Stadium, 11-8, on Saturday afternoon. Matt Bell led the Wildcats with a two goal, two assist performance while Jack Rice tallied three goals in the victory in front of a crowd of 2,125. Villanova dominated in face-offs, winning 13-22 attempts and stifled UDel’s extra-man opps, continuing their perfect streak of defending on man-down defense. In goal, Billy Hurley garnered his first minutes in cage for the season and made 12 saves with the victory. Delaware’s Noah Fossner made 11 saves in the defeat.

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