April 30, 2009

Courtesy of Villanova

Hempstead, NY -- Villanova scored four unanswered fourth quarter goals to erase a 7-5 deficit and post a 9-7 win over top-seeded Hofstra in a Colonial Athletic Association Semifinals match-up Wednesday evening. Villanova, which improves to 10-5 on the year, advances to the CAA finals Saturday at Towson. The ninth-ranked Pride of Hofstra, who fall to 11-3, will now wait until Sunday night when NCAA Championships bids are announced.

The game was close throughout, with neither team able to take complete control. The Pride scored first, 4:09 into the game, when Ryan Carter found Brad Loizeaux cutting down the middle and fed the freshman for his fifth goal of the season. However, Matthew Fritts scored two consecutive goals - one with 6:07 left in the opening quarter and one with just four ticks left on the clock to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead after one quarter.

The Pride opened the second stanza with a three-goal outburst, including two by leading scorer Jay Card. Joe Montemurro opened the quarter by winning the faceoff and scooping up the ground ball. He then raced into the offensive end and found Card for the goal just 10 seconds in to tie the score at 2-2. Carter then scored off a feed from Michael Colleluori at the 3:20 mark for a 3-2 Pride lead.

Card closed out the run with his 32nd of the year on an assist from Kevin Ford to give Hofstra a 4-2 lead. Villanova's Tim Driscoll, the Wildcats leading scorer, drew the visitors to within one with his 25th goal off a Chris MacDonald feed with 3:33 remaining in the half.

Fritts tied the score 1:49 into the third quarter when he converted a Kevin Cunningham pass for his 22nd tally of the year. Just over three minutes later, Card completed his hat trick-his eighth of the season-with a man-up goal as Tom Dooley notched the assist for a 5-4 Pride lead. Dooley then gave the Pride a two-goal advantage with 3:22 to play in the third, coming around the left side of the cage for his 17th of the year. Wildcat freshman C.J. Small cut the lead in half at 6-5 when he scored from MacDonald with 35 second left in the third quarter.

Ford extended the lead to 7-5 just over five minutes into the fourth with his 19th of the season from Colleluori. That would be Hofstra's last goal of the night as Fritts scored with 8:12 remaining to close the deficit to 7-6. A pushing penalty on Hofstra proved costly for the Pride as Driscoll scored his 26th of the year on the man-up to tie the game at 7-all with 6:56 to play.

Just 32 seconds later Mike Brennan scored what proved to be the game-winner when he took a feed from Small and beat Hofstra keeper Andrew Gvozden on a bounce shot for an 8-7 lead. Kevin Cunningham scored unassisted with 3:30 remaining for an insurance goal and the Pride could not get a shot past Andrew DiLoreto, the leading goalie in the CAA, the rest of the way.

DiLoreto made 11 saves in the win and avenged a 10-3 loss against the Pride in the regular season finale last Saturday. Fritts led the Wildcats with four goals, whil MacDonald had two assists and a team-best five ground balls.

Card led Hofstra with three goals, while Dooley and Carter each had a goal and an assist. Colleluori added two assists. Steven DeNapoli and Montemurro each picked up six ground balls. Gvozden made nine saves in a losing effort.

* * * *

Hempstead, N.Y - Villanova (10-5) advanced to the CAA Championship game after a 9-7 win over top seeded Hofstra (11-3) Wednesday. The Wildcats received four goals form senior Matthew Fritts (Dallas, Tex.) who has 23 goals on the season.

Villanova opened the game strong with two early goals from Fritts (Dallas, Tex.) to go up 2-1 at the end of the first quarter. The first came at the 10:51 mark with an assist from freshman Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.J.). Fritts' second goal was an unassisted shot down the middle.

The Pride responded with a three goals to open the second quarter. Two came from the CAA's leading scorer Jay Card and one from Brad Loizeaux for Hofstra to take a 4-2 lead.

Wildcat senior Tim Driscoll (Montville, N.J.) answered with his own goal. The team's leading scorer recorded his 25th goal of 2009 at the 3:30 mark. With an assist by senior Chris MacDonald (Westfield, N.J.), the goal brought Villanova within one to end the half.

For the second tie of the game, Fritts notched his third goal of the game less than two minutes into the second half. Cunningham's assist on the play was his second of the contest.

Down 6-4 after two Hofstra goals, Villanova freshman C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) recorded his 12th game of the year. Assisted by MacDonald, the goal came with :35 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The Pride scored to go up by two, but Villanova would not go down without a fight. The Wildcats answered with four straight goals to take a two goal lead. Fritts, Driscoll, Cunningham and sophomore Mike Brennan (Manhasset, N.Y.) each notched goals to put them up 9-7 to win the game.

Senior goalkeeper Andrew DiLoreto showed why he is one of the best in the country. He recorded 11 saves in the game holding the Pride to only seven goals while earning the win. DiLoreto now has 131 saves on the season.

For the first time since 2004 the Wildcats will be playing in the CAA Championship game. Villanova will take on the winner of No. 2 Towson Saturday May 2nd at 7:30 p.m.

* * * *

Score by Period   1  2  3  4  Total
VILLANOVA         2  1  2  4    9
HOFSTRA           1  3  2  1    7

GOALS: Fritts, Matthew 4; Driscoll, Tim 2; Cunningham, Kevin 1; SMALL, C.J. 1; Brennan, Mike 1.
ASSISTS: Cunningham, Kevin 2; MacDonald, Chris 2; Brennan, Mike 1; Liva, Dan 1; SMALL, C.J. 1.

GOALS: Card, Jay 3; Dooley, Tom 1; Ford, Kevin 1; Carter, Ryan 1; Loizeaux, Brad 1.
ASSISTS: Colleluori, Michael 2; Carter, Ryan 1; Dooley, Tom 1; Ford, Kevin 1; Montemurro, Joe 1.