The Wildcats Never Trailed to go 2 – 1 in the Big East On Senior Day
VILLANOVA, PA. 4/16/2022 –
The game would be critical for Villanova who would need a win to help solidify their place in the standings, and a berth in the Big East Tournament. The Wildcats are 2 – 1 in the league and put distance between themselves and Providence (0 – 3) for one of the four berths available. Nova knows it is important to keep ahead of those behind in the standings, especially the gritty Friars.
“This week we emphasized that this is a must-win game for us,” said Villanova senior attack Matt Campbell. “In the Big East we wanted to be in control of our destiny. We knew Providence was on the line here and they were going to give us their best. I think we executed the game plan well.”
A Fast Start Helped Villanova to the Victory
The Wildcats got off to a good start getting out to a 4 – 0 lead on goals by four different players, thus forcing the visitors to play uphill.
“To get off to that fast start set the tone for the day, our guys felt confident,” said Villanova Coach Mike Corrado. “Lacrosse goes in runs, and they made their run and we made a run. We got a good run to start the second half, and they came back, but we made the last one and got out of here with a win.”
Nova Withstood Providence Charges
The game would not be easy. Each time Villanova created space in the goal differential, Providence would come back at them, tying the game at 5 apiece in the second quarter. Answer the Wildcats, getting two goals by Luke Keating for a 9 – 6 halftime lead. Nova would increase that advantage getting a score by Justin Coppola who won the faceoff and took it to the goal scoring 7 seconds into the second half. Coppola won 21 of 33 of his faceoffs for a 22 – 13 edge for the Cats in that category. Attack J.P. Basile found the back of the net just over a minute later, and the Cats seemed on their way.
“Justin Coppola payed amazing today,” Campbell said about the critical second half opening score. “Getting goals from him and in transition really helps the offense flow.”
The advantage increased to 13 – 7 on a goal by attack Matt Licata, his fourth of the season, giving his team the largest lead of the game with 9:45 to play in the third. Nova scored just 14 seconds earlier on Campbell’s 35th goal of the season.
Providence kept chipping away getting the next three goals, two by attack Jack Horrigan. Each time Villanova would respond to charges getting goals by Licata, Keating, Basile, and Brett Baskin, all experienced players, to retain the lead.
Experienced Wildcats Steeped Up
“You lean on those guys in tough times,” said Corrado about the older players. “I told the offense we need to score three more goals and we need you guys to step up. We got two or three quick ones in a row to spread that out again.”
The last three goals of the game went to the Wildcats.
Keating scored a game-high 4 goals followed by Baskin and Licata who recorded a hat trick. Campbell registered 2 goals and 3 assists. Keating also helped 3 times. Campbell leads the team with 51 points. Keating has 46 points on 21 goals and 25 assists. Baskin is third in scoring at 41 points (26 goals, 15 assists).
Goalie Will Vitton saved 16 shots of the 49 he faced. Nova had 52 shots on Friars goalie Michael Harris who made 10 saves.
Horrigan led Providence with 3 goals. Matt Grillo contributed 5 points on 2 goals and 3 assists.
The Rest of the Season
Villanova improves to 7 – 4 overall and is 2 – 1 in the conference and is in a three-way tie for second place along with Marquette and Denver. The next two games are against Marquette and league-leading Georgetown. Those, too, are critical games. In the Big East where there are only five games, all matchups are important.
“It was a pivotal game for us and am excited we won,” Corrado said. “Providence is a tough team. We were happy to grind out this win. We can celebrate Easter and come back to work next week and get ready for Marquette.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian
NOTEWORTHY: The program celebrated Senior Day. Matt Campbell was one ten seniors honored for their service to the program along with Jimmy Gabrielson, Will Vitton, Brody LaPorte, Austin Fraser, Stelios Kroudis, Chet Comizio, Patrick Daly, and brothers Thad and Alex Spiker. The day was emotional for Campbell.
“It’s pretty emotional,” Campbell said. “It went by so fast. It’s really nice to reflect on this senior class. I am so close with everyone.”
Coach Corrado spoke of what the senior players meant to the program.
“They came at a great time in our program, just after we made the NCAA Tournament,” Corrado pointed out. “They’ve had four straight winning seasons and made the Big East Tournament every year. They were close to the NCAA Tournament, but haven’t made it yet. We have some All-American level players in the class and role players. They are great students and a really tight group.”
Six graduate students were also acknowledged prior to the contest including Brett Baskin, Brendan Haggerty, Luke Keating, J.P. Basile, Chris Hervada, and Jack Newswanger.