April 23, 2011

Villanova Averts Upset Bid by St. John's

from press release

QUEENS, N.Y. - The 11th-ranked Villanova Wildcats (9-3, 1-2) wouldn't take the lead until 4:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, but goals from Michael Vigilante (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Matt Bell (Severna Park, Md.) would solidify the 11-9 victory over St. John's (4-8, 2-3) on Saturday afternoon.

The driving rain at DaSilva Memorial Field made for sloppy play on both sides as the Wildcats posted their first win in conference play this season.

Said Villanove head coach Michael Corrado: "We got off to a slow start but played a good second half. I'm proud of the way our guys stepped up in the fourth quarter and made a run to get the win." Corrado continued, "It was important for us to get our first BIG EAST win today and that's what we did."

Junior Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) led the team with four points via two goals and two assists, while sophomore Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) and Vigilante each contributed three points apiece.

Villanova found themselves down 3-0 just six minutes into the contest as the Red Storm notched three scores in the opening minutes from Keegan, Fitzgerald and Switzer.

VU's Rice responded at the 7:38 mark off a nice transition play from defenseman Ryan McDonagh (Huntington, N.Y.), and would net his second goal of the game and 25th of the season just over a minute later off a Cunningham assist to get the 'Cats to within one at 3-2.

St. John's would match their biggest lead of the game with scores from Keegan, Holenstein and Switzer to begin the second quarter up 6-2 over Villanova. Cunningham would break nearly 15 scoreless minutes at the 6:56 mark off an unassisted goal to cut the St. John's lead to 6-3, while the Red Storm and Wildcats would trade goals to end the half at 7-4.

Villanova would come out of the break with a huge rally and change in momentum, netting three straight goals from Small, Cunningham and Henrich to the game at 7-7. St. John's Switzer and McArdle would respond and extend the Red Storm lead at 9-7 after finding the net at the 7:17 and 6:02 marks, ending the quarter with a two-goal cushion going into the final stanza.
The fourth quarter would prove to be the highlight of the contest for the Wildcats, shutting out St. John's and netting four unanswered goals. Bell would bookend the quarter with a pair of goals at the 10:20 and 3:20 marks, while Rice and Vigilante would capture the game-tying and game-winning scores at the 9:35 and 4:06 marks to solidify the BIG EAST victory.

Despite the closely-contested match, Villanova would dominate in shots (39-26), ground balls (29-19) and faceoffs (13-24).

Defensively, St. John's goalkeeper Jeff Lowman captured 16 saves in the defeat while Villanova's Billy Hurley (Morristown, N.J.) made five stops in the victory. Senior Brian Karalunas (Dewitt, N.Y.) tallied two takeaways and five ground balls to lead the team.

Villanova will be back in action on Tuesday, April 26 to face Rutgers at 7 p.m. in Villanova Stadium.

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