May 3, 2009

Courtesy of Villanova

Towson, Md. - The Wildcats (11-5) earned their first Colonial Athletic Association Championship Saturday when they defeated Towson (7-10), 10-9. The fourth seeded Wildcats knocked off top seeded Hofstra Wednesday and the second seeded Tigers in the Championship game to be the lowest seed to ever win the title.

The Villanova defense, first in the CAA, was able to hold on to a one goal lead after Towson came from behind with only 0:43 remaining in the game. Freshman C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) led Villanova with three goals while freshman Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) notched a goal and three assists in the victory. Wildcat senior goalkeeper Andrew DiLoreto (Wilton, Conn.) recorded ten saves in his 11th win of 2009.

Villanova started strong with goals from Small (San Diego, Calif.) and junior Mark Scioscia (East Hampton, N.Y.) to give the Wildcats an early 2-0 lead. Small's goal, his 13th of the season, was assisted by senior Matthew Fritts (Dallas, Tex.) while Scioscia's fire down the middle was unassisted.

After allowing a goal to Towson's Justin Schnider, Villanova senior Tim Driscoll responded with his 27th goal of 2009. The score put the Wildcats up 3-1 less than two minutes into the second quarter, as freshman Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.J.) notched an assist.

After a Tiger goal by Brock Armour, a penalty would put the Wildcats a man down for three minutes. Towson's Randall Cooper would talk advantage, tying the score 3-3 at the 8:52 mark in the second quarter.

Although down a man, Villanova's offense would step up to score twice. Scioscia and sophomore T.J. O'Donnell (Randolph, N.J.) got passed Towson's defense to take a 5-3 lead.

The Wildcats would notch three more goals to take an 8-3 lead at the half. Small and O'Donnell struck again with Cunningham assisting on both goals. Cunningham would record a goal of his own with 0:13 seconds remaining in the second quarter as senior Chris MacDonald (Westfield, N.J.) assisted on the play. MacDonald earned his team leading 31st point and 23rd assist on the play.

To open the third quarter, the Tigers Tim Stratton brought his team within four at the 11:27 mark. Villanova's Small would strike for the third time at the 10:12 mark to give the Wildcats a 9-4 lead.

The Tigers would receive goals from Schneider and Stratton to get within three but Wildcat sophomore Mike Brennan's (Manhasset, N.Y) unassisted goal with 6:27 remaining in the game would put the score at 10-6.

Three unanswered goals from Towson's Bill McCutcheon, Stratton and Schneider's third of the game would bring the Tigers to within one with only 0:43 remaining.

Along with the victory, four Wildcats were named to the CAA All-Tournament Team. Sophomore Brian Karalunas (Dewitt, N.Y.) Fritts and Cunningham were honored while DiLoreto was named the most outstanding player in the Championship.

With the win, Villanova is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Their opponent will be announced Sunday night during the NCAA selection show.

2009 Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Lacrosse All-Championship Team

Andrew DiLoreto, Villanova (Most Outstanding Player)

Matthew Fritts, Villanova

Brian Karalunas, Villanova

Kevin Cunningham, Villanova

Rob Wheeler, Towson

Will Harrington, Towson

Justin Schneider, Towson

Brendan Baker, Drexel

Kevin Dart, Drexel

Jay Card, Hofstra

Steven DeNapoli, Hofstra