Providence Stuns Villanova in Regular Season Finale
from staff reports
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Villanova men's lacrosse team's NCAA tournament hopes, which once seemed secure with the nation's second-toughest schedule, took a significant hit with a stunning 15-11 loss to Providence, a team that before Saturday had lost 11 straight and had never won a Big East game.
Senior Jake Nolan and freshman Greg FitzMaurice led the Friars in with three goals apiece. Nolan also notched two assists. Sophomore Sean Wright scored two goals and registered three assists in the victory. Sophomore Andrew Barton contributed a goal and three assists.
In the first quarter, the Wildcats took an early 2-0 lead scoring at the 11:37 and 10:34 marks, but the Friars responded with four consecutive goals to gain a 4-2 edge. At the 8:57 mark, Niall Cahill scored his 12th goal of the season on a pass from Nolan. Seven seconds later, Bromley won the faceoff and stormed down the field to score his first goal of the season at the 8:50 mark. With 7:11 on the clock, FitzMaurice gave the Friars their first lead of the game, 3-2, when he scored on a ball from Wright. Josh Torres extended the Providence lead to two, 4-2, when he scored at the 3:35 mark, unassisted, to cap the quarter.
FitzMaurice scored his second goal of the game early on in the second quarter at the 12:04 mark to extend the Friar lead to three, 5-2. Villanova's Max Hart scored a goal a minute later at the 11:04 mark but Nolan followed with his 12th goal of the season with at the 10:35 mark to put the Friars up, 6-3. Wildcat Kevin Cunningham scored consecutive goals to decrease the Villanova deficit to one, 6-5, at the 7:03 and 2:36 marks, before teammate Michael Vigilante scored the equalizer on a man-up goal with 1:04 remaining to knot the game at six goals apiece entering halftime.
Following halftime, Nolan scored his second of three goals in the matchup when he took a low shot off a pass from Wright at the 13:06 to give the Friars a 7-6 lead. It would not last as Villanova scored with 9:50 to play but Wright put the Friars ahead again, 8-7, less than a minute later, at the 9:21 mark. Weber then extended the Friar lead to two, 9-7, when he scored with 6:30 on the clock. Wright scored again in the quarter, at the 3:59 mark, before Villanova's Will Casertano scored with 1:54 to play, to cut the Friar edge to two, 10-8, entering the final quarter of the game.
Providence gained its largest lead of five, 13-8, following three consecutive goals from Barton, Noyes and Textor, at the 14:41, 13:33 and 10:32 marks, respectively. Villanova responded with consecutive goals of its own at 8:13 and 7:32 but it would not be enough. Nolan scored his third and final goal of the game and season at the 5:04 mark on a pass from Barton to extend the Friar lead to four, 14-10. Providence and Villanova traded goals to end the game, with the Wildcats coming within three on a goal from Hart at the 4:02 mark and FitzMaurice capping the scoring at the 1:27 mark to end the game with the Friars on top, 15-11.
Dzwilewski notched 14 saves in his final regular season game of his collegiate career.
The game marks the end of the Friars' regular season. The team finished 2-12 overall and 1-5 in the Big East.
Villanova now turns its attention to the Big East tournament, which it will host next week. The second-seeded Wildcats will meet third-seeded Syracuse Thursday at 7 p.m.