Villanova faced their sixth Top-20 opponent in 2013 on Saturday as the #4 Syracuse came to Villanova Stadium. The Wildcats used face-off domination to down the Orange 11-10 in Nova's first BIG EAST game of the season. Villanova also beat Syracuse 11-10 a season ago at The Carrier Dome, which at the time was the first ever BIG EAST loss for the Orange.
Mike Corrado's squad (2-5, 1-0) put on a statistical clinic as Villanova won 23 of 25 face-offs (Editor's Note: 92 percent, yo!), out-shot Syracuse 44-21, snagged 32 of 51 ground balls, and scored on 2 of 3 extra-man opportunities in front of a crowd of 2,527.
Villanova got the go-ahead goal against the previously undefeated Orange by Tim Mulrenan following a crucial face-off won by junior Thomas Croonquist with just under 3 minutes to play.
Max Hart led the team in points (one goal, three assists) while freshman John Kluh had three goals for Nova as seven Wildcats posted points. Syracuse (5-1, 2-1) had three players with a pair of goals.
The win was obviously huge for this year's team, as they've faced perhaps the toughest schedule in the country with little success so far. If the Wildcats are to make the NCAA Tournament, it will likely have to be through the BIG EAST's automatic bid. Picking up wins against tough competition, and gaining the confidence associated with that, is vital for the stretch-run.
'Nova continues it's Top-20 tour when they take on #17 Penn State next Saturday at Villanova Stadium. Game time is 7 pm ET.
GOALS: Kluh, John 3; Doherty, Nick 2; Mulrenan, Tim 2; RICE, Jack 2; Hart, Max 1; O'Neil, Kevin 1.
ASSISTS: Hart, Max 3; O'Neil, Kevin 2; Croonquist, Thomas 1; Doherty, Nick 1; Mulrenan, Tim 1.