Villanova vs. Syracuse
May 4, 2013
The Game Story:
VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Syracuse men's lacrosse team (13-3) captured the 2013 BIG EAST Championship with a 13-9 victory against top-seeded Villanova (7-8) Saturday, May 4 at Villanova Stadium. It's the Orange's second straight conference tournament title and the team's fourth BIG EAST championship in the four-year history of the league.

Sophomore attackman Kevin Rice paced the Orange with two goals and three assists against the Wildcats. Rice finished with seven points (four goals, three assists) in the tournament and was named the BIG EAST Championship's Most Outstanding Player. He was joined by junior Derek Maltz, senior JoJo Marasco, junior Dominic Lamolinara and redshirt senior David Hamlin on the all-tournament team.

The Orange offense was efficient all day as nine different players had goals and nine of the team's 13 goals were assisted. Syracuse shot better than 35 percent (13-37) for the game and converted on 3-of-4 (.750) extra-man chances.

In addition to Rice's five-point performance, junior Scott Loy tied his career with three goals and redshirt freshman Dylan Donahue added one goal and two assists in the victory.

Syracuse led 3-2 after the first quarter, and notched three of the first four goals in the second period to open up a 6-3 advantage. Villanova responded with a transition goal by defenseman Chris Piccirilli and a man-up tally by Kevin O'Neil to close the gap to 6-5 with 7:58 left in the opening half.

Following O'Neil's goal, the Orange defense stepped up, shutting out the Wildcats for the remainder of the second quarter. The SU offense took advantage as sophomore Matt Walters and Loy each scored late in the half. Loy's goal with eight seconds left pushed the SU margin to 8-5 at the break.

The Orange added to its advantage in the third quarter, notching the first three goals after halftime to take its largest lead of the game (11-5). Maltz opened the second-half scoring by finishing a Marasco pass. Loy followed with an unassisted goal and Marasco closed the run with an extra-man goal at the 4:22 mark.

The Villanova scoring drought reached 19:36 before a Jack Rice tally ended it at 3:22 of the third quarter, trimming the SU lead to 11-6.

Rice's goal shifted the momentum to the Wildcats who started the fourth quarter with three more goals to make it an 11-9 game before Donahue stopped the Villanova surge by scoring with 6:47 left.

After Donahue's goal the Orange regrouped and Villanova never scored again.

Redshirt sophomore Henry Schoonmaker put the finishing touches on the victory with an unassisted goal with 19 seconds left to produce the final score.

Jack Rice, Tim Mulrenan and Piccirilli all had two goals apiece for Villanova. Reed Carlson saw almost 40 minutes of action in goal for the Wildcats and recorded 12 saves, while backup Greg Stamatov had three saves in just over 19 minutes of work.

Lamolinara made nine saves in the cage for Syracuse to improve to 10-2 this season.

The Orange receives the BIG EAST's automatic bid in the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship. Syracuse will learn its first-round NCAA opponent tomorrow night at 9 p.m. when the 16-team tournament field is revealed on ESPNU.

Game Notes: Marasco was credited with one assist to set the Orange season record for the most assists by a midfielder (35) … Marasco surpassed the previous mark of 34 established by Paul Gait in 1990 … Junior Chris Daddio won 11-of-24 (.458) faceoffs to neutralize Villanova's Thomas Croonquist at the X … After winning 22-of-24 draws (.917) against Syracuse in the regular season, Croonquist went 15-for-26 (.577) Saturday … Syracuse improved to 6-2 all-time against Villanova … Redshirt sophomore Hakeem Lecky scored a goal for the fourth straight game.