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2018 Men’s Lacrosse Year in Review: #16 Villanova Wildcats

Despite plenty of injuries, the Wildcats were able to sneak into the NCAA Tournament.

Villanova Athletics

With the 2018 college lacrosse season complete and fall ball just around the corner, it’s time to start looking back at how all 71 teams did during the season, as well as what to expect from each squad for 2019. These are not end of season rankings, as some people might think.

We’re almost done looking back to 2018 with plenty of team recaps thus far and continued our series last week with Lehigh, Saint Joseph’s, Bucknell, Vermont, and Canisius

So with that, let’s continue the recaps!

#16 Villanova Wildcats

Conference: Big East
2018 Record: 10-6 (3-2 in Big East play)
Postseason: Lost to Georgetown in Big East semifinals, lost to Duke in NCAA First Round
Head coach: Mike Corrado (12th Year)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Danny Seibel (36)
Assists: Christian Cuccinello (24)
Points: Christian Cuccinello (57)
Faceoffs: Dan Fisher (129-of-272; 47.4%)
Ground balls: T.J. Comizio and Dan Fisher (51)
Caused turnovers: T.J. Comizio (18)
Goals against average: Nick Testa (11.10 GAA)
Save percentage: Nick Testa (46.8%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: A Christian Cuccinello (33 Gs, 24 As, 22 GBs), A Danny Seibel (36 Gs, 10 As, 25 GBs), M Devin McNamara (16 Gs, 9 As, 11 GBs), M John Kluh (5 Gs, 5 As), FOGO Luke Palmadesso (51.1% faceoff draws, 2 Gs), G Matt Barrett (8.72 GAA, 75% SV %)
Senior scoring departing: 142 of 264 points (53.8%)
Senior starts lost: 56 of 160 (35%)

Season Summary

It looked like Villanova might have been one of the dark-horse teams in the entire country with a new goalie in Matt Barrett and a ton of scoring depth on their side. But injuries to Barrett, Luke Palmadesso, and Joey Froccaro led to a late season skid before ultimately being bounced by Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

The season started with two big road wins in overtime against Penn State and eventual national champion Yale. In the season opener against the Nittany Lions, Barrett played the first seven minutes before going down with a season-ending injury. But after the Hofstra win, there came some concern. They did win their next two games, needing a fourth quarter run to beat Drexel and escaping Delaware with two Christian Cuccinello fourth quarter goals. Yet they suffered a tough defeat to Brown in a midweek game, where the team also saw the last of Palmadesso. The Bears used a four-goal fourth quarter run to get past the Wildcats and end their undefeated start.

Villanova beat Penn a few days later and played well in a loss to Maryland, but needed overtime and six Danny Seibel goals to get by Fairfield in their nonconference finale. After a win in their Big East opener against Marquette, the Wildcats got embarrassed by Denver and also didn’t have enough to rally against Georgetown at home. Suddenly, they were on the bubble for making the tournament. Nova earned wins over St. John’s and Providence to get a spot in the Big East Tournament again, where they had to take on Georgetown one more time. Despite being down one with 3:02 left in the game, the Hoyas managed to score two more times to pull away and get the win. The Wildcats had to wait until Sunday to find out if they were in the tournament, and they were as the last at-large team in. But they had to travel to Durham and take on Duke, which ended up in a 17-11 loss. The Blue Devils used an 8-1 second quarter to take care of the Wildcats.

Seniors Cuccinello and Seibel were accompanied by freshman Keegan Khan at attack. The trio started all 16 games last season and scored at least 30 goals and 45 points. Junior Timmy Hardy and senior Kieran Byrnes also saw time this past year at attack. At midfield, senior Devin McNamara was the only Wildcat to start in all 16 games. He was accompanied for the most part by sophomore Connor Kirst and freshman Colin Crowley. Kirst finished the season with 25 goals in 15 games played while Crowley had at least 10 goals and 10 assists in his rookie year. Senior John Kluh also saw time as a starter and reserve with five goals and five assists along with freshman Eric Overbay and sophomore Jared Nugent.

The Wildcats had a very young defense that started in all 16 games this past season in sophomores Zach Kryza and Matt Webster being joined by freshman Owen Prybylski. All three recorded at least 20 ground balls while Webster and Prybylski each had at least 10 caused turnovers. Juniors Fernando Delgado and Robert LoCascio also provided valuable depth and experience in their time on the field as well. Freshman Colin Hunt was the primary LSM with 13 ground balls and five turnovers, but the star of the “rope” unit was junior T.J. Comizio. Comizio led the team with 18 caused turnovers and 51 ground balls and was accompanied by fellow classmate Chris Donovan for the most part. Freshman Dan Fisher took the majority of the faceoffs with Froccaro and Palmadesso injured as well as Kirst. Junior Nick Testa got the majority of the minutes after Barrett went down with an injury and started in the following 11 games, but got replaced by sophomore Michael Toomey for the final four games of the year.

Looking Ahead

The bulk of their losses comes on offense with Cuccinello, Seibel, McNamara, and even Kluh all gone. With Cuccinello, Seibel, and McNamara out, that’s 128 points altogether out of the 142 that depart. Fortunately, Khan, Kirst, Crowley, Overbay, and Hardy all return. The team also have Luke Prybylski, Owen’s older brother on the team.

Outside of Palmadesso and Barrett, there are no big losses on the defensive side of the ball. The starting defense has two more years together as a group, while Hunt has three. Fisher has some competition and help this year in the form of former Albany FOGO Zack Ornstein. The big question heading into the fall is whether Testa or Toomey can stand out from the other and take the starting goalie job. Testa faltered late in the year when the team needed him, while Toomey did an okay job.

Here’s who the Wildcats will be adding to their roster for next year.

Villanova’s Official Class of 2018

Player Position High School
Player Position High School
Matt Campbell Midfield Delbarton (NJ)
Chet Comizio Midfield Delbarton (NJ)
Patrick Daly Attack Tabor Academy (MA)
Austin Fraser Attack Hendrick Hudson (NY)
Jimmy Gabrielsen Midfield Malvern Prep (PA)
Stelios Kroudis Attack Sparta (NJ)
Brody LaPorte Defense Menlo School (CA)
Alex Spiker Defense Oak Hall (FL)
Thad Spiker Defense Oak Hall (FL)
Michael Ubriaco Defense Boys' Latin (MD)
Will Vitton Goalie Summit (NJ)


How many wins will Villanova get in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    (4 votes)
  • 35%
    (21 votes)
  • 35%
    (21 votes)
  • 23%
    (14 votes)
60 votes total Vote Now