VILLANOVA, Pa. Syracuse is off to the NCAA mens Division I lacrosse tournament yet again.
The Orange built a five-goal lead heading into the final period, and the SU defense held Villanova scoreless over the final nine minutes to earn its second straight Big East Conference championship with a 13-9 win over the Wildcats on Saturday.
SU (13-3) now has won all four Big East championships as it heads off to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
The Orange receives the Big Easts automatic bid in the NCAA tournament. Syracuse will learn its first-round NCAA opponent at 9 tonight when the 16-team tournament field is revealed on ESPNU.
Sophomore attackman Kevin Rice paced the Orange with two goals and three assists. Rice, who finished with four goals and three assists in the tournament, was named the Most Outstanding Player.
The Orange offense was efficient all day as nine different players scored goals and nine of the teams 13 goals were assisted.
In addition to Rices five-point performance, junior Scott Loy tied his career high with three goals and redshirt freshman Dylan Donahue added one goal and two assists.
We have as many or more wins than most people in the top 20 and top five, said SU head coach John Desko. It depends how theyll look at the losses. The Hobart loss might hurt us a little bit, but everybodys got three, four, five losses. I think we probably have the best wins.
Syracuse led 3-2 after the first quarter, and notched three of the first four goals in the second period to open up a 6-3 advantage.
After Villanova closed the gap to 6-5 with 7:58 left in the opening half, the Orange shut out the Wildcats for the remainder of the second quarter. Sophomore Matt Walters and Loy each scored late in the half to push the SU margin to 8-5 at halftime.
The Orange notched the first three goals after halftime to take its largest lead of the game.
The Villanova scoring drought reached 19:36 before a Jack Rice tally ended it at 3:22 of the third quarter. The Wildcats then started the fourth quarter with three more goals to make it an 11-9 game before Donahue stopped the Villanova surge by scoring with 6:47 left.
Villanova never scored again. Redshirt sophomore Henry Schoonmaker put the finishing touches on the victory with an unassisted goal with 19 seconds left.
Jack Rice, Tim Mulrenan and Piccirilli each had two goals for Villanova.
SYRACUSE 14, Georgetown 7
Sophomore Kailah Kempney of Carthage scored three goals and was named to the all-tournament team, helping No. 5 ranked Syracuse beat No. 6 Georgetown in the Big East Conference championship game at Washington, D.C.
Freshman Kayla Treanor tied her career high with seven points (six goals, one assist) for SU and won the Most Outstanding Player award.
With the victory, the Orange (16-3) claims its third conference title and earns the leagues automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. SU has now won 11 consecutive games.
Alyssa Murray added a pair of goals for SU. Goalies Kelsey Richardson and Alyssa Costantino recorded three saves apiece.