“The defense picks up the intensity,” said Villanova Senior Defenseman Brian Karalunas. “I thought we were a little sloppy on defense, but we worked hard.”
“In the second half, I thought our defense played well,” Villanova Coach Michael Corrado said. “We gave up eight shots in the second half and played better defense in the second half despite giving up more goals.”
Villanova started hot on offense getting the first two goals of the game by Junior Attack Matt Bell and Junior Midfielder C.J. Small. Rutgers answered back with two goals to tie the game at the 7:47 mark of the first period. Villanova answered with three straight scores by Sophomore Midfielder Max Hart, Bell, and Sophomore Attack Jack Rice to lead 5 – 2 after one period of play. The defense took over in the second period as each team would only score once. Sophomore Attack Will Casertano scored with 3:15 to play providing Villanova with a 3 goal cushion at halftime.
Rice started the scoring for the Wildcats in the third quarter putting one past the Goal Keeper at the 13:21 mark.
“We got a couple of goals to start the second half,” said Karalunas. “We pride ourselves in getting the first goal of the second half as that sets the tempo for the rest of the game.”
Villanova led 7 – 3, but that lead would shrink as Rutgers got consecutive scores from Scott Klimchak and Michael Diehl to cut the deficit to two with 7:47 left in the quarter. Then the key sequence of the game for the Wildcats unfolded. With 4:49 remaining Sophomore Attack Nick Doherty scored to give the Wildcats an 8 – 5 lead, then just 27 seconds later Hart cashed in as Villanova went in front 9 – 5. The goal gave Villanova badly needed separation and added confidence at the end of the third quarter.
“That was an important sequence to build the lead up,” said Corrado.
The separation became greater for the Blue and White as Doherty scored his second goal of the game with 13:29 to play as Villanova led 10 – 5. But the Scarlet Knights would not let Villanova get comfortable as Kevin Hover put a shot past Sophomore Goal Keeper Billy Hurley with 11:45 on the clock. It was his second goal of the game. Rice followed by scoring his third goal of the game making it uncomfortable for Rutgers as Villanova took an 11 – 6 lead with 8:05 left in regulation. Vigilante found the back of the net with 5:51 to play as the Wildcats doubled up the Scarlet Knights 12 – 6. Hover scored his third goal of the game with 5:13 remaining to end the scoring.
Villanova out-shot Rutgers 35 – 18 on Rutgers Goal Keeper Rudy Butler, and had an advantage in winning face-offs against Rutgers.
“I thought one of the keys to the game was that we faced-offed well,” said Corrado. “They have the number one face-off man in the country, and we won 13 out of 22 face-offs. That allowed us to keep momentum in the game and not let them get on a run.”
Rice scored three goals in the game giving him 29 goals for the season. Doherty, Hart, and Bell added two goals each. Vigilante had a goal and an assist. Karalunas had a Caused Turnover giving him 55 for the season. In addition to Hover Rutgers got two goals form Klimchak and Diehl. Duncan Clancy registered four assists.
Villanova improves to 10 – 3 on the season and are 2 – 2 in the Big East. This is the third consecutive year they have won at least 10 games, and the Wildcats prepare for an April 30 game at home against Providence on Senior Night.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
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