Villanova Comes Back to Defeat No. 15 Drexel in Overtime

VILLANOVA, Pa. The Wildcats rallied from a three-goal deficit and came back to tie the contest on five separate occasions before netting the game-winner in overtime as Villanova defeated No. 15 Drexel 11-10 on Tuesday evening at Villanova Stadium.

Freshman Austin Frederick (Baltimore, Md.) pivoted at a low angle deep on the crease to beat Drexel goalkeeper Will Gabrielsen with just 54 seconds remaining in overtime as Villanova played their second overtime contest in as many games to come away with the win.

Following tonight's contest, Villanova improves to 1-1 on the season while Drexel falls to 1-2. It marked the 34th overall meeting between the two schools as the Wildcats and Dragons have met every year dating back to 1981.

The Wildcats never led in the contest until Frederick's game-winner but dominated the time of possession and outshot the Dragons by a 57-34 margin for the game. The contest marked Drexel's third one-goal game of the season and their second overtime contest on the year while the Wildcats have played two overtime games to start their season, each also having been decided by one goal.

Head coach Mike Corrado states, "I'm proud of how our kids stepped up today, especially the younger class. A lot of guys are just starting to get their reps on offense and with some guys hurt others are getting an opportunity to play."

With 7:38 remaining in regulation, the Wildcats found themselves down by two at 10-8 before junior Eric Gartner (Malvern, Pa.) notched back-to-back scores with 5:07 and 1:06 left on the clock. With just 12 seconds left, Gartner had an excellent look at goal but was denied when Drexel goalkeeper Will Gabrielsen made a point-blank save to send the contest into extra minutes.

Each team had opportunities and traded possessions in the first overtime. Villanova senior Thomas Croonquist (North Caldwell, N.J.) won his 15th faceoff of the evening at the start of OT to give the Wildcats the ensuing possession but neither team could find their footing as time wound down. Drexel had their best chance to claim the contest on an extra-man opportunity with 1:52 on the clock but was stifled by freshman goalkeeper Dan Willis (Moorestown, N.J.).

Following Willis' save, Frederick tallied his fourth goal of the season on the transition to claim the contest for Villanova to claim their first victory of the 2014 season.

The Wildcats found themselves on the comeback trail throughout the contest beginning with a high-scoring first quarter. Drexel put up three quick goals in the first eight minutes of the contest before Villanova answered with scores from Johnny Gallaway (Middletown, Md.), Christian Kolderup (Darien, Conn.) and Kurtis Naslonski (Randolph, N.J.) to tie the game at 3-3. Drexel would end the quarter with another two goals for a 5-3 advantage before Villanova senior Kevin O'Neil (Cockeysville, Md.) closed the half with the lone score of the second quarter to lower the gap at 5-4 heading into intermission.

O'Neil would continue his scoring run into the third quarter and notched two of the three Villanova goals in the second half and tied the game at 6-6 with 10:34 left on the clock. A persistent Dragon offense responded with tallies from Jordan Cunningham and Ryan Belka to end the third quarter with a one-goal lead at 8-7.

The fourth quarter favored Villanova 3-2 following tallies from Frederick and Gartner while Drexel's Ben McIntosh added two goals for the Dragons as the game went into extra time.

Defensively, senior defensemen John LoCascio (Fairfield, N.J.) and Chris Piccirilli (Davidsonville, Md.) grabbed six ground balls apiece while classmate Christopher Conroy (Chatham, N.J.) added an additional two ground balls and five caused turnovers on the evening. Willis tallied 15 saves in the victory for his first career win.

Following tonight's contest, Villanova will travel to Newark, Del. to face the Delaware Blue Hens on Saturday, March 1st. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m.


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