VILLANOVA PRESS CONFERENCE
SYRACUSE PRESS CONFERENCE
VILLANOVA, PA -- Second-seeded Syracuse defeated No. 1 seed Villanova 13-9 to win the BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Championship title on May 4 at Villanova Stadium. The Orange won back-to-back titles in the league's first two tournaments.
The first 15 minutes saw five goals as the score was knotted twice. Syracuse took a 3-2 advantage into the second on goals from junior Scott Loy, sophomore Kevin Rice, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, and redshirt-sophomore Hakeem Lecky. Lecky, who scored twice in Thursday's semifinal win against Notre Dame, scored with 3:21 remaining in the quarter to give the Orange the lead. Villanova won five-of-six faceoffs in the first quarter.
Freshmen John Kluh and Tim Mulrenan were responsible for the Wildcats' first two goals, with each tying the score.
Rice scored his second goal of the game for the Orange a minute into the second quarter, but Villanova junior Chris Piccirilli responded one minute later to make it a 4-3.
The Orange took their largest lead of the game, a 6-3 edge on goals by senior Luke Cometti and junior Derek Maltz, which came within 41 seconds of each other.
Less than a minute later, Piccirilli turned it back into a two-goal game as he scored with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Junior Kevin O'Neil found the back of the net for the Wildcats to make it 6-5 with 7:58 left to play in the first half. In the final six minutes, SU scored twice to take an 8-5 lead into the half.
One minute into the third quarter, Maltz scored to put the Orange ahead 9-5. After eight minutes of scoreless play, Loy and BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year JoJo Marasco scored back-to-back goals to give SU a commanding 11-5 lead with 4:22 left in the third quarter.
Villanova senior Jack Rice, who had five goals in the semifinal against Georgetown, scored his first goal of the title game with just over 18 minutes remaining in the game.
The fourth quarter started with Villanova junior John LoCascio sprinting down field from the faceoff, finding Rice for his second goal of the game. Rice's goals were the start of an offensive swing for Villanova, as it was the first of four-straight for the Wildcats. Senior Will Casertano and Mulrena added goals to bring the Wildcats within two (11-9) with just over nine minutes left in the game.
But the run wasn't enough, as Syracuse scored their final goal with 19 seconds remaining to make the final 13-9.
"Congratulations to Villanova on a great season," said Syracuse head coach John Desko. "I thought our guys came alive in the second quarter, solidified defensively and figured out what we needed to do. It is great to win the BIG EAST Championship and hopefully it will help with seeding in the NCAA tournament."
Junior Dominic Lamolinara made nine saves in goal for the Orange.
Top-seeded Villanova defeated No. 4 seed Georgetown in the semifinals, while No. 2 seed Syracuse knocked off third-seeded Notre Dame to advance.
Villanova and Syracuse each went 5-1 in conference play to share the regular season title. The Wildcats took the No. 1 seed by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker with Syracuse earlier in the season, when Villanova defeated the Orange 11-10 at home on March 23.
The NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship 16-team field will be announced on Sunday, May 5 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
2013 BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Championship All-Tournament Team
Reilly O'Connor, Georgetown
Nick Ossello, Notre Dame
Jack Rice, Villanova
John LoCascio, Villanova
Will Casertano, Villanova
Derek Maltz, Syracuse
JoJo Marasco, Syracuse
Dominic Lamolinara, Syracuse
David Hamlin, Syracuse
Kevin Rice, Syracuse (MOP)