The Villanova Wildcats Men's Lacrosse team welcomed the 6th-ranked John's Hopkins Bluejays to Villanova Stadium to kick off the 2015 season on this snowy afternoon. JHU lost in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Men's Lacrosse Championship to the eventual champion Duke Blue Devils.
Villanova got off to a hot 2-0 thanks to goals by Jack Curran and Sean Cerrone. With 11:58 Hopkins called timeout, and that's where they got back on track. Just 3 seconds after an Eric Gartner penalty, JHU's Wells Stanwick assisted Shack Stanwick to cut the defecit to 2-1. `Nova was sure to get the 2-goal lead back when Jack Curran found the back of the net three minutes later. With less than a minute in the1st quarter Villanova took two penalties on Remington Pope and Danny Sweeney, and Hokins' Ryan Brown took full advantage to cut the Wildcats' lead to 1-goal heading into the 2nd quarter.
Before the quarter began, the referees decided to change from a white ball to orange, which was much easier to see in the snow-covered field.
Just minutes into the 2nd, the Bluejays looked to have tied the game but it was called off because of a crease violation. Seconds later, Villanova's John Moderski took a penalty and on that power play Hopkins tied the game at 3-3 thanks to Holden Cattoni. Less than thirty seconds after tying it, Ryan Brown gave the Bluejays their first lead of the game. After that, Villanova head coach Michael Corrado called timeout.
Unfortunately that timeout did little to help as Pope would again take a penalty. Shack Stanwick would aid Patrick Fraser on his first goal of the game at 12:06, giving JHU a 5-3 advantage. Luck would eventually go in VU's favor as Nick Fields of the Bluejays took a 1-minute penalty for a hit to the head. Freshman Danny Seibel cut Hopkins' lead in half with 9:14 left in the half, and even with a man down for too many men on the field Villanova's Christian Cuccinello tied the game at 5-5. That's how the second half would begin.
Penalties were a major issue for the `Cats. It kept the Bluejays in the game thanks to the many opportunities in the offensive zone. Johns Hopkins also won the faceoffs battle, ground balls, and forced nine turnovers on Villanova. Johns Hopkins only had three turnovers in the half.
The 3rd quarter saw a lot of back-and-forth action. Wells Stanwick gave Johns Hopkins a 6-5 lead just 1:01 into the second half. Things did not look much better when Villanova's Sean Cerrone had an illegal body check, but he made up for it out of the penalty box with his unassisted goal. That tie lasted only 52 seconds and Ryan Brown put the lead back in Johns Hopkins' hands, and Holden Cattoni took advantage of Eric Gartner's hit to the head infraction with another goal. Cerrone again came through with a goal from Danny Seibel at 7:32.
The snow started to fall heavier as the game went on. Combine that with Johns Hopkins' fast passing and sophomore goalie Dan Willis lost sight of the ball when Shack Stanwick found the back of the net right in front of the crease to extend the lead to two goals yet again. To continue the rapid scoring streak, Villanova sophomore Kurtis Naslonski brought `Nova to within one goal yet again. Bluejays' freshman Joel Tinney was called on a delay of game, however Villanova could not get past Eric Schneider. The 4th quarter would begin with the Wildcats trailing by one.
At 14:14, goalie Dan Willis decided to be too aggressive when he challenged a shot outside the crease. The empty net meant Wilkins Deskume took the groundball and converted. To make matters worse, Wells Stanwick took the faceoff and went the distance to give Hopkins its largest lead of 11-8. Villanova immediately called timeout.
Hopkins' Phil Castronova was called for slashing with 10:00 to go in the game, and Christian Cuccinello scored his second of the game. It was then when the Bluejays began to play "Kill the Clock." Even with their stalling, John Crawley got past Dan Willis and put JHU up three. Later Ryan Brown added to his hat trick on the day, and Villanova never got within reach the rest of the way. Hopkins ended up taking this one 13-10.
Villanova has a short break before they welcome the Penn State Nittany Lions to Villanova Stadium on February 21st. Opening faceoff is slated for 1:00 pm.