Villanova lacrosse gets Duke in NCAA first round

Matt Leon
May 09, 2018 - 1:59 pm
Senior attacker Christian Cuccinello

Villanova Athletics/Greg Carroccio

VILLANOVA, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — For the third time in program history and the first time since 2011, the Villanova University men's lacrosse team is headed to the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats will match up with perennial power Duke in the first round on Saturday down in Durham, North Carolina.

"This is awesome stuff, and we are very excited for the opportunity ahead of us," Villanova head coach Michael Corrado said.

Villanova brings a 10-5 record into the tournament. They lost in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament to the eventual conference champion Georgetown.

Corrado thought highly of his group coming into the season, and he says they have not disappointed.

"I thought (with) the group that we had returning and then an incoming freshman class that really has contributed, that we had the opportunity to put ourselves in this position," he says. "We won 10 games against one of the best schedules in the country so I couldn't be prouder of our team."

The Wildcats are paced by senior attacker Christian Cuccinello who has 33 goals and 55 points. Freshman attacker Keegan Khan has 29 goals and 43 points while senior attacker Danny Seibel has added 31 goals and 40 points to the cause.

Duke is 13-3 on the season and Corrado says they will present quite the challenge.

"Duke is incredibly athletic all over the field," he said. "They have big, strong athletes, and they have a lot of them. They have a lot of depth."

Corrado talks about what his team will need to do to put a tournament run together.

"I think we're going to have to improve at the faceoff X," he says. "We haven't done well there. Improving there is going to have to be a priority. I think we're going to have to shoot well. Our offense really is the strength of our team, we're able to generate a lot of scoring opportunities. We just have to shoot the ball well and not give away goals."

The winner of this game gets the winner of the Georgetown/Johns Hopkins matchup in the quarterfinals.

Villanova lost in the first round in both of its previous NCAA Tournament appearances.

Saturday's game will get underway at 2:15 p.m.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.