"We had our eyes set on this all year long," coach Beth Alford-Sullivan said. "[They were] on a mission.
"We've been [working up to this] the past few years."
The Nits got a 2:53.5 out of Brannon Kidder in the 1,200, a 45.6 from Brandon Bennett-Green in the 400 and a 1:46.7 from Casimir Loxsom in the 800. Creese finally pulled away from Oregon's Jeremy Elkaim in the final 200 meters. Villanova freshman Jordy Williams made up a lot of ground at the end for a 3:58.9.
"The guys gave it all they had," Villanova coach Marcus Sullivan said. "I'm happy in terms of the time [9:26.80], but disappointed [with the loss]. We mixed it up with some great, great teams. That's it."
'Nova's first three legs were run by Sam McEntee (2:53.0), Sam Ellison (46.0) and Chris Fitzsimons (1:49.4).
PSU, which has a deep stable of good middle-distance guys, had finished second to Princeton in last month's NCAA indoor championships. The Tigers, who also won here last April, had injury issues and were never a factor.
"We were very confident," said Loxsom, a senior. "We had a little salty taste in our mouths [from nationals]. We were definitely driven . . . We have a lot of heart.
"You don't always have the personnel to do well here, since the best in the country show up. Words can't even describe it. It means so much, to be able to say I was part of this process."
Chances are it might not take them a half-century to make it back on the podium.