No. 20 Villanova Throttles Penn State
from press release
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- No. 20 Villanova (4-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) took a 6-0 lead and never looked back as the Wildcats went on to blank Penn State (1-3, 0-0) 17-5 at Villanova Stadium on Tuesday evening. C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) tallied a career-high four goals while Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) and Michael Vigilante (Massapequa, N.Y.) each contributed four points on the evening.
The 17-5 victory matches Villanova's highest scoring differential dating back to April 6, 2002 in an 18-6 win over Lafayette.
Said head coach Michael Corrado: "Tonight was a great win for us and we played our most complete game of lacrosse that we've had all season. C.J. Small had a great game, Cunningham was there, Nolan Vihlen was great at face-off, it really was an all-around effort. We took a lot of high percentage shots that really made the difference for us."
Villanova got off to a rolling 6-0 lead taking them into the second quarter, with Vigilante, Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.), Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.), Cunningham and Small all notching unanswered scores though the 13:47 mark of the second stanza.
It took Penn State over 17 minutes to get on board, with Colton Vosburg tallying the first goal of the evening for the Nittany Lions to close the gap at 6-1 in favor of VU.
The Wildcats would go on to respond four more times from Casertano, Small, Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) and Matt Bell (Severna Park, Md.) to give VU a 10-2 lead at the end of the first half, their biggest lead of the season.
Penn State began to find their stride to begin the third quarter, getting two quick goals from Matt Mackrides and Shane Sturgis with 7:34 remaining to close the score to 10-3, but Small responded for his third goal of the game less than two minutes later to make it 11-4, VU.
PSU's Billy Briggin would capture the last Nittany Lion goal of the day with 4:41 remaining in the third quarter, while Jack Rice and Cunningham would close out the stanza in favor of the Wildcats, 13-5.
To begin the fourth quarter, Vigilante would find Cunningham and Bell for scores while Small would notch his sixth goal of the season and his fourth of the game with 7:30 remaining on the clock.
Freshman Kevin O'Neil (Cockysville, Md.) would go on to score the first goal of his career and the final of the game with 1:46 remaining to put the final at 17-5 in favor of Villanova.
The Wildcats dominated every category for the evening, outshooting PSU 42-24 and winning 18 of 23 attempts at face-off. Junior Nolan Vihlen (Germantown, Tenn.) had the best night of his career, winning 12 of 16 attempts at the X, good for a 75% win percentage. Freshman Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) was equally impressive, going 6 for 7 and posting a .857 win percentage for the night.
"Vihlen had one of the best games of his career. At halftime he was 9-of-11 on faceoffs. Croonquist also went 6-for-7 for the night. The entire defense -- Chris Creighton, Chris Ficke and Ryan McDonagh -- all played incredibly well," added Corrado.
Defensively, Brian Karalunas (Dewitt, N.Y.) led the team with six ground balls while junior goalkeeper Billy Hurley (Morristown, N.J.) captured eight saves in the victory.
The Wildcats will return home on Saturday, March 12 when they host Philadelphia-rival and No. 9 Penn at 1 p.m. in Villanova Stadium.