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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #34 Villanova Wildcats

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Despite beating Denver in the regular season, the Wildcats were unable to beat the Pioneers in the Big East semifinals.

Villanova Athletics

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!

#34 Villanova Wildcats

Conference: Big East
2019 Record: 8-7 (3-2 in Big East)
Postseason: Lost to Denver in Big East Semifinals
Head coach: Mike Corrado (13th Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Corey McManus (35)
Assists: Keegan Khan (29)
Points: Keegan Khan and Connor Kirst (50)
Faceoffs: Dan Fisher (129-of-249; 51.8%)
Ground balls: TJ Comizio (64)
Caused turnovers: TJ Comizio (24)
Goals against average: Will Vitton (11.37 GAA)
Save percentage: Will Vitton (51.8%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: SSDM TJ Comizio (24 CTs, 64 GBs, 16.7% FOs, 1 G, 9 As), SSDM Chris Donovan (8 CTs, 25 GBs, 2 Gs, 1 A), M Timmy Hardy (4 Gs, 3 As, 3 GBs, 1 CT), G Nick Testa (13.02 GAA, 41.7% SV %, 8 GBs, 1 CT), M Andrew Gallahue (2 Gs, 2 As, 1 CT)
Senior scoring departing: 24 of 272 points (8.8%)
Senior starts lost: 13 of 150 (8.7%)

Season Summary

After just reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2018, Villanova looked to build on that success and take it a step further. With the Big East a little more open than it had been, it was a prime opportunity for the Wildcats to get the conference’s automatic qualifier.

Like last year, Villanova began the season on the road against Penn State. But unlike 2018’s meeting, the Wildcats fell to the Nittany Lions by 10 goals. But ‘Nova rebounded quite well with a road overtime victory against defending champion Yale for their first win of the season. The following week was another overtime victory, this time at home against Hofstra, but the Wildcats needed to make a fourth quarter comeback after allowing all six goals in the third. A win over Delaware put ‘Nova at 3-1 entering the Philly 4 Lacrosse Classic.

The two-game weekend wasn’t kind to Villanova, falling to Penn and Drexel to fall back to .500 on the year before suffering a setback to Maryland a week later. But the Wildcats faced another stretch of two games in three days, this time on the road in the New England area. ‘Nova found themselves in a game against Fairfield, but overcame a two-goal deficit with the final six goals of the game to get a four-goal win. Two days later against Brown, the Wildcats nearly gave up a five-goal lead in the final quarter, but Will Vitton’s last-second save on Carson Song secured a big win for the squad as they entered Big East play.

After beating Marquette at home, Villanova went on the road to take on Denver in what could be a potential Big East championship preview. ‘Nova got out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter, but the Pioneers responded and came within a goal multiple times in the game. But the Wildcats held on for the final 3:46 of the game, including two more big saves from Vitton, to secure the upset. It was a win that could have carried the team’s momentum for the remainder of Big East play.

But that was not to be, as the team fell to the defending Big East champion Hoyas the following week in Washington, D.C. Georgetown scored 11 goals in the second and third quarters combined en route to a three-goal win. After a St. John’s win, ‘Nova looked to have secured a regular season finale win over Providence. But the Friars tied the game on a crazy sequence with less than a second on the clock before winning it on the ensuing faceoff in overtime. Instead of being the top seed in the conference, Villanova was suddenly the fourth and final seed and could not earn another win against top-seeded Denver, ending their season.

Midfielder Connor Kirst and attackman Keegan Khan led the team with 50 points each on the season with freshman midfielder Matt Campbell putting up 40. 35 of Corey McManus’ 36 points came on goals, with Patrick Daly and Eric Overbay recording at least 20 points. The team lost midfielder Colin Crowley and attackman Joey Froccaro early in the season due to injuries. Timmy Hardy, Jimmy Gabrielsen, Andrew Gallahue, and Jack Kinnear also played roles on the offense.

The close defense was pretty much the same for most of the season with Patrick Kennedy, Owen Prybylski, and Zachary Kryza. Matt Webster was also a starting caliber defenseman before his season ended early due to injury. Freshman Michael Ubriaco became the team’s top long stick midfielder with Brody LaPorte also getting time at long pole. Colin Hunt played in all 15 games with the pole as well. But Villanova’s top defender was short stick defender TJ Comizio, who led the Wildcats in ground balls and caused turnovers in addition to registering 10 points. Chris Donovan and Chet Comizio were the two other main short stick defenders. Will Vitton became the starting goalie after Nick Testa started the first three games of the year. Dan Fisher finished the season with a 51.8% faceoff percentage and split the bulk of the draws with Albany transfer Zack Ornstein.

Looking Ahead

The offense remains the same from a year ago without a couple of depth options. Crowley and Froccaro also return and look to overcome their injuries from the previous season. Villanova’s top six all return and some depth options also come back in hopes of taking the next step forward.

While the close defense should be fine, the defensive midfield takes a hit. TJ Comizio and Donovan both graduate, and Michael Ubriaco transferred to Maryland. Colin Hunt could get a larger role next season, while a Comizio will still be in the defensive midfield, but Chet will have some big shoes to fill. Both FOGOs and Vitton in goal all return.

There has been some change throughout the entire conference, whether it’s players leaving or coaches changing. Villanova should be a contender in the Big East in 2020. But one of the big obstacles they still face is Denver.

Poll

How many wins will Villanova get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    0-4
    (2 votes)
  • 9%
    5-6
    (7 votes)
  • 28%
    7-8
    (21 votes)
  • 60%
    9+
    (45 votes)
75 votes total Vote Now