Villanova Is For Real. Beat Penn in OT, 9-8

Great Job Jesse Palmer

From the Villanova Press Release:

Box Score

Will Casertano

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Sophomore keeper Billy Hurley (Morristown, N.J.) made a huge save to give Villanova possession, while Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.) found Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) for the overtime game-winner as No. 20 Villanova (5-1, 0-0) upset ninth-ranked Penn for the 9-8 win on Saturday afternoon.

With the victory, VU improves to 5-1 on the season while the Quakers dropped their second straight to fall to 3-2.

Head Coach Michael Corrado states, “Jack Rice’s four goals were huge and he did a terrific job finishing, especially in overtime. Will Casertano did a great job finding an open guy and hitting him for the score. It was a great all-around play. This is a big win for us in a game that’s become a battle every year.”

The Wildcats made quick work of building an early lead in the first quarter, netting three straight from Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.), Rice and Casertano that was bookended by two man-up goals. Penn responded after the quarter break, scoring at the 10:24 and 6:26 marks by Drew Belinsky and Dan Savage to close the lead at 3-2.

Cunningham tallied his 13th goal of the season to close out the half, taking a speedy look to give the Wildcats a 4-2 lead going into halftime.

Junior Michael Vigilante (Massapequa, N.Y.) displayed superb stick handling and rocketed a shot between two Quaker defenders to give VU the opening goal of the half, while Penn’s Belinsky answered less than a minute later, making the score 5-3.
Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) tallied his fourth of the season with 8:37 remaining in the quarter to give Villanova a 6-3 lead, but Penn kept fighting, netting two quick scores from Rob Fitzpatrick and Ryan Parietti to cut the Villanova lead to 6-5 to end the quarter.

The Wildcats looked like they were about to solidify the game with Cunningham assisting Rice for the first two goals of the quarter, but Penn kept making the most of their opportunities. Dan Savage netted a score with 7:44 to play while John Conneely converted on a man-up situation with 2:35 left. Winkoff found a gap in the Villanova defense with 1:19 left to tie the game at 8-8, sending the game into overtime.

The overtime victory would be the first of the season for the Wildcats, who look to continue their four-game win streak on the road this coming Tuesday at Princeton.

Junior Nolan Vihlen (Germantown, Tenn.) and freshman Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) were terrific on face-offs, winning 13 of 20 attempts from the X.

Defensively, Hurley tallied eight saves – including several point-blank stops – for the victory while Penn’s Brian Feeney captured six in the defeat. Senior Brian Karalunas (Dewitt, N.Y.) led the team with four ground balls and five takeaways for the afternoon.

Corrado adds, “Nolan [Vihlen] and Tom [Croonquist] did a very good job facing off, and Billy made a great save in overtime to clear the ball and give us possession. Karalunas was very disruptive today and played well in transition, it was a big day for him and he came up huge for us.”

The Wildcats will have their final mid-week test of the season when they travel to Princeton, N.J. to face the ninth-ranked Tigers in the Class of 1952 Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m




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