Rutgers vs. Villanova
April 25, 2010
The Game Story:
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 25, 2010) – The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team was clipped by No. 9/9 Villanova by an 8-4 score in its final home game Sunday afternoon at Yurcak Field.

The Scarlet Knights (5-7, 1-3) outshot the Wildcats (9-4, 3-1) by a 27-25 margin but only 14 of RU’s shots were on goal. For the second straight game, Rutgers struggled to maintain possessions as they committed 22 turnovers.

Rutgers still leads the all-time series with Villanova by a 6-2 mark.

After starting the season 5-2, Rutgers has now dropped five straight games with the last three coming against top-10 teams.

Senior midfielder Gerhard Buehning (Essex Fells, N.J.) and sophomore attackman Kevin Hover (Belle Mead, N.J.) each scored two goals.

Sophomore midfielder Michael Diehl (Flemington, N.J.) and senior midfielder Justin Pennington (Flemington, N.J.) each dished out an assist. Pennington’s helper marks the 21ststraight game he has notched a goal or an assist.

Despite receiving the loss, senior goal Billy Olin (Horseheads, N.Y.) had a strong showing as he prevented numerous tough shots and ended his final home game as a Scarlet Knight with 11 saves and three ground balls.

Villanova was led by senior midfielder Paul Webber who notched a game-high four points on two goals and two assists. VU goalie Billy Hurley registered the victory after he collected 10 saves and four ground balls.

“This game was a snapshot of our season,” said Rutgers head coach Jim Stagnitta. “Again, we have an athletically talented team but we turned the ball over in a number of situations that hurt us. We were four for 27 on shots today. It is hard to win that way.

“We had good play on the defensive end against what I believe is a very good offense. Even when it was 6-4, I thought we had a shot but we failed to clear the ball. We can step on the field every single day and play competitively with anybody. The problem is we can’t get over the hump and outscore people.”

Hover scored the game’s first goal at the 11:41 mark in the first quarter. Thirty seconds later, Villanova put the scoreboard at 1-1 when Webber fired one in the back of the net.

Buehning took an assist from Pennington at the 9:37 mark in the first quarter to allow RU to regain the lead. The advantage would be the last of the BIG EAST contest for the Scarlet Knights.

The Wildcats notched three straight goals, including two from senior midfielder Mark Scioscia, to take a 4-2 edge.

Buehning bounced one past Hurley for his second goal of the game to trim VU’s lead to 4-3 with 6:49 remaining in the first half. The Scarlet Knights would go the next 32:05 before they scored another goal.

Villanova notched two goals in the third quarter from Matt Bell and Will Casertano to extend their lead to 6-3 heading into the fourth quarter.

Rutgers outshot Villanova 10-2 in the final period but was only able to get one in the net when Hover broke a scoreless quarter at the 4:44 mark off an assist from Diehl to put VU’s lead at 6-4.

The Wildcats tallied two more goals in the final 4:05 to capture the 8-4 victory.

Prior to the start of Sunday’s contest, 11 Scarlet Knights were honored with their families on the field to commemorate their final home game at Rutgers.

“This is a group of seniors that came through our door with a commitment and a vision to help us get back on track,” said Stagnitta. “I think they have helped build a foundation to where we can show up every day now and we can be competitive. Unfortunately, being competitive and getting over that hump of winning these tough games is something we have to improve on.

“These seniors have given us the ability to play people tough and play them heads up. They have set a foundation for the future. This is a terrific group of students-athletes, I just wish today would have been better for them.”