Frisco, Texas — While Villanova senior attackman Danny Seibel hit the game-winner for the 10-9 overtime victory against Yale, along with three other goals, Wildcats goalie Nick Testa was the story of this year's Patriot Cup.
In this game, Testa was a brick wall up close. Of his 11 saves, nine of them had to have been from within five yards.
The game started out as a defensive battle as both teams were flying around with timely doubles, while both goalies stood strong in-between the pipes. Once both offenses got rolling, winning the possession battle would be the key for the Wildcats and their free flowing offense. Leaning heavily on sweep picks to throw backs, or pass down-pick down looks with Seibel and seniors John Kluh and Christian Cuccinello, the Wildcats were able to take a one-goal lead into half.
There was a subtle storyline developing between two young defenseman and two veteran, offensive stars. Quietly, Villanova sophomore Zachary Kryza was doing a phenomenal job marking two-time Tewaraton finalist, senior attackman Ben Reeves. Meanwhile, Yale freshman defenseman Chris Fake held Cuccinello to one goal after thirty minutes of play. Everyone at the Ford Center knew that something had to give and at some point.
That's when Reeves took over the game. Forty seconds into the second half, Ben Reeves showed everyone why he is such a special player, as he scored the next two goals less than 50 seconds apart and tallied a goal or an assist in seven of Yale's nine goals.
Yale went on a 4-1 run in third quarter via some great individual efforts by Reeves, junior attackman Jack Tigh and a stingy defense that made sure the Wildcats could not find the same rhythm they had in the first half.
After losing the lead on a 7-2 run by Yale I asked Villanova coach Mike Corrado what he told his team heading into the fourth quarter.
"In our sport you can't worry about what just happened because it can change so fast…so you just keep playing," Corrado said.
That's exactly what the Wildcats did.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Villanova made some timely shots on long possessions to bring the game to a 9-9 tie. Yale did have possession at the end of regulation, but big saves from Nick Testa ensured everyone in Frisco would be treated to free lacrosse.
In overtime, Yale and Villanova traded possessions (neither staff used their timeouts) and again, Testa would be the difference. Ben Reeves came up-field and let off a shot that went wide and Testa recovered the ground ball and flung it up to a 'Nova teammate breaking up field. Seventeen seconds from Testa picking up the ground ball, Danny Seibel caught a feed from T.J. Comizio and buried the nine-yard game winner.
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