PC Friars Beat Villanova to Advance to 1st Big East Lacrosse Title Game
PC news release…
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Providence College men’s lacrosse team is headed to the BIG EAST Conference Championship game after defeating 15th-ranked Villanova, 10-7, on Thursday, May 4 at Chapey Field at Anderson Stadium in Providence, R.I. It marks the Friars’ first trip to the BIG EAST title game, since the league began sponsoring lacrosse in 2010. Providence improved to 10-6 overall on the year, which ties the program record for wins in a single-season. It also marks the most wins for Providence since 2006, when the team finished the year with a 10-7 mark. The Wildcats dropped to 9-6 on the year.
The Wildcats rushed out to a two-goal cushion at 4-2 after the opening quarter on the strength of two goals from Danny Siebel. Trailing 2-0 just 2:17 into the game, the Friars responded with back-to-back goals by Conner Byrne (Hicksville, N.Y.) and Brendan Kearns (Wantagh, N.Y.) to draw even, before Villanova regained its two-goal lead with strikes from Seibel and Christian Cuccinello.
Providence took over the momentum in the second quarter, out-shooting the Wildcats by a 14-4 margin and notching all four goals of the quarter to take a 6-4 lead into the half. After Ryan Schaffer (Plano, Texas) made it a 4-3 game on the man-up just 21 seconds into the quarter, the teams went scoreless for the next 14 minutes. The Friars exploded for three goals in a span of 38 seconds in the final minute of the half to take a two-goal lead into the locker room (6-4).
Kearns’ second of the game knotted things up at 4-4 with 38 seconds to play, before Providence stunned the Wildcats with two goals in the final three seconds. Joseph McHale (Bernardsville, N.J.) gave the Friars a 5-4 lead with three seconds to go and Tim Hinrichs (Amherst, N.H.) wired a shot from just past midfield after a face-off violation to give Providence a 6-4 lead after 30 minutes.
Friar goaltender Tate Boyce (Matthews, N.C) made nine saves in the opening half, including a brilliant stop on Cuccinello on a clear breakaway.
The teams traded goals during a low-scoring third quarter. Sean Leahey’s (Cranford, N.J.) 15thgoal of the season gave the Friars a 7-4 lead just 1:04 into the quarter, but Villanova cut the deficit back to two goals on Jake Froccaro’s second tally of the evening. Froccaro’s goal ended Villanova’s scoreless streak at 30:34. Providence out-shot Villanova 12-6 in the third quarter and claimed all three face-offs.
Schaffer extended the Friar lead back to three goals at 8-5 after a highlight reel turn-around shot that beat Wildcat goaltender Nick Testa. Leahey added his second of the night to counter Villanova’s score to put the Friars back up by three with 8:15 remaining in the game. The Wildcats looked to climb back into the game after Devin McNamara’s goal with 4:43 to go made it a 9-7 lead for Providence.
Schaffer completed the hat trick and helped seal the victory with 2:33 remaining on the clock off a feed from Goltz.
Providence who entered the game as the No. 3 seed, will face No. 4 seed Marquette. The Golden Eagles upset top-seeded and second-ranked Denver, 10-8, in the first semifinal of the day. The Friars are the first No. 3 seed to advance to the BIG EAST Championship Game since 2012. That year, No. 3 seed Syracuse defeated No. 4 seed St. John’s in the title game, 12-4, in Villanova, Pa. The championship game will be played on Saturday, May 6 at Chapey Field at Anderson Stadium in Providence, R.I. Face-off is set for 4:47 p.m. and the game will be televised on FS2.