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Lax: Terps send Cats downhill

PRESS RELEASE: COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The 10th ranked Villanova Wildcats (4-3) dropped their second straight non-conference matchup to No. 7 Maryland (5-1), 11-5, on Saturday afternoon. Maryland jumped out to a 7-0 run to start the game and never looked back as they posted their sixth-straight win against the Wildcats in series history.

For Villanova, the contest also marks the second straight loss to teams ranked in the Top-20 in the national polls. The Wildcats fell to No. 16 Princeton earlier this week and will face No. 6 Syracuse and No. 14 Penn State the next two contests.

The Terps got out to a quick start and netted seven-straight scores from Billy Gribbin, Owen Byle, Mike Chanenchuk, Jay Carlson and Michael Shakespeare to begin the contest, holding Villanova scoreless for 19:50.

The Wildcats got on board at the 10:10 mark of the second quarter when senior C.J. Small (San Diego, Calif.) capitalized off a Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) pass on an extra man opportunity. Just 29 seconds later, senior Kevin Cunningham (Garden City, N.Y.) cut the Terp lead to 7-2 with a point-blank shot to beat Maryland goalkeeper Niko Amato.

Maryland's John Haus would end the half with an 8-2 lead in favor of the Terps scoring off a Villanova penalty for pushing.

After making adjustments at halftime, Villanova posted two straight scores in the third quarter starting at the 8:03 mark as junior Jack Rice (Baltimore, Md.) made the most of a Will Casertano (Millbrook, N.Y.) assist while the Terps were serving consecutive penalties for holding and unnecessary roughness.

Freshman Christian Bennardo (Cutchogue, N.Y.) netted the first goal of his career just over two minutes later with a spin dodge to the crease, closing the gap to 9-4 in favor of the Terps.

Maryland's Byle would post two of his career-high four scores before Villanova's Nick Doherty (Bernardsville, N.J.) finished an unassisted play for the last score of the game, cementing the final at 11-5 in favor of the Terps.

Defensively, senior Dan Gutierrez (Chevy Chase, Md.) posted nine saves in the defeat while MD's Amato made 12 stops for the victory. Sophomore Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) nabbed six ground balls and went 11-of-16 (69%) from the face-off X.

Villanova will have more than a week to rest before beginning BIG EAST Conference play next Sunday, March 25th at No. 6 Syracuse. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.