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Men’s lacrosse preview: Villanova hosts Syracuse Saturday at 7 p.m. in BIG EAST showdown

Friday, 25th March 2011

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 3/25/11
From Press Releases

No. 7 Villanova (7-1) will play host to No. 1 Syracuse (6-0) at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at Villanova Stadium in a BIG EAST contest expected to draw more than 3,000 fans.

Villanova's Kevin Cunningham

This will be only the fourth meeting all-time between the two schools, with the Orange leading the series 3-0. In the last contest on March 29th, 2010 in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse claimed a 20-6 win over the Wildcats on the Orange home turf. Syracuse’s other victories in the series include a 19-8 win in the first matchup between the two schools in 1991 and a 21-6 victory in the 2008 season opener.

Villanova This Season: The Wildcats enter Saturday’s BIG EAST opener with a 7-1 record and a six-game win streak. 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.

The Wildcats’ 7-1 record is the best start they’ve had since the 2004 season, matching that teams 7-1 record through eight games.

Villanova’s Last Outing: Villanova secured a 10-6 victory over Manhattan last Saturday afternoon, earning their sixth straight win of the season. Junior C.J. Small tied a career-high performance with four goals while classmate Kevin Cunningham tallied five points for the day.

Villanova dominated the Jaspers, outshooting Manhattan 32-20 and winning 14 of 20 face offs. Freshman Thomas Croonquist led the team with six ground balls and had a near-perfect day from the X, winning 11 of 12 attempts, good for a face-off win percentage of 92%.

‘Nova Offense: Villanova has 12 different players contributing on offense this season, highlighted by the offensive scoring from the sophomore and junior classes. The junior class has produced 51% of total points on the season while the sophomores have contributed to 44% of total team production. The senior and freshman classes combine for just 5% of total team points. Cunningham (20g, 13a, 33pts), Villanova’s point leader, is responsible for 24% of total team points.

Villanova has been dominating at face-offs this season, with Croonquist and junior Nolan Vihlen (Germantown, Tenn.) winning 100 of 174 attempts on the year, good for a combined .575 win percentage.

Additionally, versus their opponents, the Wildcats average 10.88 goals per game compared to the 8.12 of their competition and claim a .665 shot on goal percentage over their competitors .573.

‘Nova Defense: Netminder Billy Hurley has been the staple between the pipes for the season, totaling over 475 minutes while making 65 saves on the year. For the season, Hurley posts a .500 save percentage and a 7-1 record.

Senior LSM Brian Karalunas continues to hold is spot atop the NCAA rankings in caused turnovers per game, averaging 4.63 takeaways per contest. For the season, Karalunas has 37 takeaways and 35 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 43 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers through Villanova’s eight games.

Syracuse’s Last Outing:
Stephen Keogh tallied his second overtime winner in seven days to propel top-ranked Syracuse (6-0) to a 5-4, double-overtime victory over No. 9 Johns Hopkins (5-2) in front of 8,241 fans Saturday, March 19 at the Carrier Dome.

Keogh’s goal ended what proved to be the lowest scoring game in the Syracuse-Hopkins series since 1922 when the Orange defeated the Blue Jays, 3-1. It was the Orange’s fifth straight win against Hopkins and Syracuse’s first victory when scoring five goals or less since it defeated Rutgers, 5-4, on April 3, 1982.
Syracuse this Season: Syracuse will bring a perfect 6-0 record into Saturday’s showdown against the Wildcats.

The Orange are coming off a double-overtime victory vs. No. 9 Johns Hopkins, 5-4, and have claimed wins over No. 13 Denver (13-7), No. 18 Army (11-9), No. 1 Virginia (12-10), Georgetown (9-8 OT) and No. 14 Albany (18-13).

Orange Offense: The Orange average 11.33 goals per game on offense highlighted by the performances of senior Stephen Keogh and junior Tim Desko. Keogh has captured 13 goals and four assists on the season while Desko chimes in with 15 goals and two assists through six games. 14 others have contributed points on the season.

Syracuse averages 11.33 goals per game and 39 shots per contest. Additionally, the Orange have gone 5-25 on man-up opportunities and have won 74 of 138 face-offs, just over 53% of their attempts.

Orange Defense: Senior goalkeeper John Galloway has tallied 346 minutes in cage and averages a .522 save percentage for the season. He’s made 48 saves on the year and averages 7.62 goals allowed per game.

Syracuse’s starting close defensemen, John Lade, Brian McGill and Thomas Guadagnolo have been solid on defense through their six games, capturing 32 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers on the year. Along with Galloway, they’ve limited their opponents to only 8.00 goals per game.

Last Time vs. Syracuse (3/29/10):
In their first BIG EAST matchup of the newly formed conference, the No. 17 Villanova Wildcats fell at No. 2 Syracuse, 20-6, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. Brian Karalunas led the Wildcats with five ground balls and five caused turnovers while Syracuse saw goals from thirteen different players in the contest. VU Senior co-captain Mark Scioscia tallied two goals in the defeat while Billy Hurley and Dan Gutierrez combined for 12 saves on the day.



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