Villanova vs. Notre Dame
April 3, 2010
The Game Story:
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The No. 15 Villanova Wildcats (6-3, 1-1 BIG EAST) secured their first-ever BIG EAST win with a four goal fourth quarter performance to rally over No. 18 Notre Dame (5-4, 0-2 BIG EAST), 9-8, at Villanova Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) led the team with three goals and one assist while senior classmates Paul Webber (Manhasset, N.Y.) and Mark Scioscia (East Hampton, N.Y.) each contributed with two goals apiece in front of the biggest home crowd of the season with 1,293 fans in attendance.

With the victory, Villanova reached their ninth consecutive home win dating back to March 14, 2009 and gained their first win over the Irish since 1992.

Junior LSM Brian Karalunas (Dewitt, N.Y.) states, "It's an awesome win for us. We take pride in all our home wins, but this is really special to us with it being our first BIG EAST win and it coming on our turf in our stadium."

With only six goals coming in the first 30 minutes of play, Villanova got off to the right start with four unanswered goals coming within the first two quarters from freshman Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.), Cunningham, sophomore Matt Bell (Serverna Park, Md.) and Scioscia all tallying scores.

Notre Dame bookended the four VU goals with the first score of the game just 2:10 into the contest off a Grant Krebs score. Zach Brenneman followed with the second score of the day late in the second period with 4:11 remaining in the half. Going into intermission, Villanova held a 4-2 advantage.

The third quarter saw points from ND's Steve Murphy and Villanova's Cunningham at the 5:39 and 1:48 marks, respectively.

With more goals coming in the fourth quarter then throughout the first 45 minutes of play, the Wildcats held a 5-3 advantage going into the final period. Notre Dame began the scoring barrage with five unanswered scores within seven minutes, with goals coming from Zach Brenneman and Mike Creighton on man-up and man-down opportunities at the 14:23 and 13:46 marks. ND's Neal Hicks, Max Pfeifer and David Earl followed suit just two minutes later to give the Irish an 8-5 advantage with just seven minutes left to play.

After a Villanova timeout, the Wildcats got the ball rolling with a Cunningham goal from a Chris Creighton (West Chester, Pa.) pass to get VU within two of the Irish. 36 seconds later, Scioscia netted his second goal of the game and his tenth of the season off an unassisted play while Webber tallied two scores, including the game winner, with five minutes remaining to give the Wildcats the 9-8 advantage and the victory over the Irish.

Karalunas states, "Coach [Corrado] always talks about how it's a game of runs. In the fourth [quarter] we knew we couldn't break so we just kept running; we weathered the storm. The final fifteen minutes really showed that we have the grit to compete with anyone."

Karalunas led the Wildcats defense with four caused turnovers and three ground balls. Senior Bryan McCartney (Doylestown, Pa.), junior Mike Brennan (Manhasset, N.Y.) and freshman keeper Billy Hurley (Morristown, N.J.) all tallied four ground balls on the day. Notre Dame's Mike Creighton, brother to Villanova's Chris Creighton, led the Irish defense with three caused turnovers and three ground balls for the day.

In goal, VU's Hurley is credited with the win while making nine saves. For the season, Hurley is 3-1 in the cage for the Wildcats. Notre Dame's John Kemp tallied 10 saves in the defeat.

The Wildcats will be back in action on Saturday, April 10th when they travel to Bronx, N.Y. to face the Jaspers of Manhattan. Face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

Notes: Villanova had previously lost nine straight meetings to the Irish between 1995-2009 before today's victory... Villanova had won four straight against Notre Dame between 1987-1992... The win marks the third of season for the Wildcats versus a ranked opponent... Villanova is 10-1 at home since the beginning of the 2009 season... With today's victory, the Wildcats have won nine straight at Villanova Stadium.