Villanova Shoots Up to No. 13 in Nike/USL Division I Top 20


Villanova rallied from a five-goal deficit and defeated Penn State in overtime, ascending to No. 13 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Men's Top 20.

Less than half of Division I — or Lacrosse Magazine’s preseason top 20, for that matter — opened the season over the weekend. Little surprise, then, that there was little movement in this week’s rankings.

Preseason No. 1 Duke dropped games to Air Force the last two seasons, bringing some intrigue to their opener against the Falcons. There would be no upset this year, as the Blue Devils cruised to an 18-4 victory behind senior Justin Guterding’s three goals and seven assists.

North Carolina, Ohio State and Rutgers also earned opening weekend victories, leaving Villanova’s rollicking 17-16 triumph at Penn State as the most entertaining game of the week — and the result that caused by far the most movement in the top 20.

Feb. 5, 2018




1 Duke 1-0 1 2/8 vs. High Point
2 Maryland 0-0 2 2/10 vs. Navy
3 Denver 0-0 3 2/10 at Air Force
4 Albany 0-0 4 2/17 at No. 10 Syracuse
5 Yale 0-0 5 2/17 vs. No. 13 Villanova
6 Notre Dame 0-0 6 2/11 vs. Detroit
7 Ohio State 1-0 8 2/10 vs. Boston University
8 Rutgers 1-0 7 2/10 vs. St. John’s
9 North Carolina 1-0 10 2/10 vs. Furman
10 Syracuse 0-0 11 2/10 vs. Binghamton
11 Loyola 0-0 12 2/10 at No. 16 Virginia
12 Johns Hopkins 0-0 13 2/10 vs. No. 20 Towson
13 Villanova 1-0 20 2/17 vs. No. 5 Yale
14 Hofstra 0-0 14 2/17 at No. 7 Ohio State
15 Army 0-0 15 2/10 vs. UMass
16 Virginia 0-0 16 2/10 vs. No. 11 Loyola
17 Penn State 0-1 9 2/10 vs. Hobart
18 Penn 0-0 17 2/17 vs. Michigan
19 Princeton 0-0 18 2/17 vs. Monmouth
20 Towson 0-0 19 2/10 at No. 12 Johns Hopkins
Also considered: Brown, Boston University, Marquette, Providence, Richmond

Nike/US Lacrosse Rankings
Division I Men | Division I Women
Division II Men | Division II Women
Division III Men | Division III Women


Villanova (+7)

It seems like the Wildcats (1-0) are a bit of a wild card every year, and their offensive style does not allow for easy preparation.

For three quarters, it seemed Villanova was on its way to replicating its five-goal loss to Penn State early last season. Penn State owned a 14-9 lead entering the final quarter, and the Wildcats had already changed goalies after Virginia transfer Matt Barrett left in the first quarter with a knee injury.

But Christian Cuccinello and Danny Seibel scored twice in the fourth quarter to key a comeback, and John Kluh delivered the game-winner 51 seconds into overtime to seal the opening week victory. It’s the first in a tough set of nonconference games for Villanova, which meets Yale, Hofstra, Brown, Penn and Maryland prior to Big East play.


Penn State (-8)

There will be no season-opening 10-game winning streak for the Nittany Lions this year. It didn’t help that attackman Grant Ament (30 goals and 30 assists last season) was injured and did not play; Jeff Tambroni’s bunch won’t be at its best until he’s back at full strength.

Still, Ament’s presence wasn’t going to do much for the goal-prevention department. Penn State ranked a pedestrian 38th nationally in scoring defense last season, yielding 10 or more goals in 11 of its 16 games. Chalk some of that up to stylistic preferences, but this was still the Nittany Lions’ worst defensive day since a 19-9 loss to Villanova two seasons ago.

Penn State has dropped five of its last seven dating back to last season, a fade that included opening-round exits in both the Big Ten and the NCAA tournaments. Some skepticism was already warranted for the Nittany Lions, whose offense will keep it in games but defense is probably going to be a question mark for a while in 2018.



No one new moved into the top 20, though there were a couple games percolating just on the outside of the rankings that earned some mention.

Boston University forced overtime against Providence on Ryan Hilburn’s goal with 7.8 seconds left in regulation, then sealed a 12-11 victory as John MacLean scored 47 seconds into extra time. Both the Terriers (1-0) and the Friars (0-1) had the potential to be sleepers in their respective leagues this season, and the opener suggests both have the potential to create headaches in the months to come.

Meanwhile, Navy’s trip to Jacksonville was not productive as the Dolphins’ Dwayne Mattushik scored five goals in a 12-7 victory. While Casey Rees had two goals in his first game since suffering a torn ACL in the fall of 2016, the Midshipmen were just 3 of 23 on faceoffs. Navy can ill-afford a similar showing at the X when it visits defending national champ Maryland on Saturday.

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