After last week's historic win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, the 12th-ranked Villanova men's lacrosse suffered a setback on Saturday, losing to #18 Penn State in University Park, PA 13-8. With the loss, the Wildcats drop to 5-4 on the season, although they are still 1-0 in Big East play. This game was the last non-conference affair on the schedule for Nova. The Nittany Lions, from the Colonial Athletic Association, improve to .500 at 5-5.
The first thirty minutes of regulation saw each squad netting 6 goals, but the second half was dominated by Penn State, as they scored the first 6 goals after intermission bridging the 3rd and 4th quarters. As a result, the Cats never really threatened down the stretch, especially since goalie Austin Kaut was a brick wall in the cage for the Nittany Lions. Kaut recorded 17 saves for the contest, while Nova keeper Dan Gutierrez only saved 6 shots.
Finally, the month-long road stretch is over for Villanova, but obviously, it did not end on a good note. At 5-4, the Wildcats are certainly on the outside looking in for a potential NCAA Tournament berth. Out of their 5 remaining regular season games, they should easily beat St. John's, Rutgers, and Providence. Georgetown should be a close game, but I still think the Cats are better than the Hoyas. Beating Notre Dame will be a tall task, although the game is home. If Nova can finish the regular season at 9-5, they will probably still have to do some damage in the Big East Tournament in early May to get in the 16-team NCAA field.
Villanova returns to action on Wednesday, April 4th for a crucial conference showdown with Georgetown. Faceoff is slated for 7 PM at Villanova Stadium.