Villanova Is Good? Upset Princeton 10-9

JD Product, Brian Karalunas

From Krissy Woods’ Press Release:

Box Score

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Wildcats scored seven unanswered goals to bridge the second and third quarters as No. 15 Villanova (6-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) toppled No. 11 Princeton (1-3, 0-0 Ivy) 10-9 in the Class of 1952 Stadium.

Senior Brian Karalunas (Dewitt, N.Y.) had a career-high eight caused turnovers and eight ground balls while sophomore Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) led VU with four goals. Junior Matt Bell (Serverna Park, Md.) added three assists in the effort.

The victory marks Villanova’s third win over top-20 opponents and their fifth straight. It was the first Wildcat victory in the all-time series between the two schools; the teams last met 22 years ago in 1989.

Head Coach Michael Corrado states, “This game was an all-around team effort and marked a big win for us as we prepare to open our BIG EAST schedule in the coming weeks. Jack Rice was a huge threat on offense and Karalunas had one of the best games of his career tonight. Billy Hurley had another huge effort in goal; he kept us in the game in the first quarter and shut down the Princeton attack.”

The first quarter found Princeton in familiar territory as they went up 3-0 on the Wildcats to start the game. For what has now been four times in four games, Princeton built a three-goal first quarter lead, and for the third time, that lead got away.

Villanova held Princeton scoreless for 31:11 – more than half the game – while Karalunas held Princeton’s leading scorer, freshman Tom Schreiber, without a goal or assist and with just two shots.

Villanova rallied in the second and third quarters to come back from a three-goal deficit. Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) began the Villanova run, beating Princeton’s Tyler Fiorito to his left side for the score. Just over four minutes later, sophomoreWill Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.) followed suit after the Wildcats found themselves up two men to get the `Cats to within one at 3-2.

Senior Andrew Henrich (Wyndmoor, Pa.) rounded out the quarter with his first goal of the season, finding himself wide open at the perimeter to even the score to three-all going into halftime.

At half, Hurley had captured five saves off of eight shots on goal while Fiorito had stopped six.

Villanova carried their momentum into the third quarter, notching four more unanswered goals off of looks from Rice, Cunningham, Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) and Max Hart (Bethesda, Md.). The scores would put VU up, 7-3, going into the final stanza. Villanova continued to maintain possession with the additional help from Karalunas and the Villanova defensive unit stifling any Princeton attempts.

Princeton, down 7-3 going to the fourth, scored six times in the final 15 minutes. After taking 17 shots in the first three quarters combined, Princeton took 17 more in the fourth quarter alone.

Princeton began the late comeback with scores from Chris McBride, Forest Sonnenfeldt and Cliff Larkin to get the Tigers to within two, but Rice was there for the VU response, notching two goals to put the score at 10-6 in favor of Villanova with 3:45 remaining in the contest.

The Tigers wouldn’t go quietly, as Tyler Moni scored his second of the game, and Princeton cut the Villanova lead to 10-9 on a pair of Larkin goals with 26 and 13 seconds to go. In the final seconds, Princeton’s Jeff Froccaro would win the final face-off, but Villanova’s Nolan Vihlen (Germantown, Tenn.) forced a turnover to shut down any last-minute heroics.

Vihlen was a major force once again from the face-off X, winning 12 of 18 attempts while freshman Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) was 3 for 5. Hurley finished the game with 10 saves in the victory while Fiorito captured 10 in the defeat.

With tonight’s victory, Villanova concludes their mid-week schedule for the season. They’ll return home to host Manhattan on Saturday, March 19th at 1 p.m in Villanova Stadium.


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