PHILADELPHIA – Trailing by one goal at the halftime break, the Hawks outscored the Commodores five goals to two in the second half as the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse team took home a 12-10 win over Vanderbilt in front of a packed house on Sunday afternoon on Sweeney Field. With the win, the Hawks snapped a two-game losing streak and improve to 3-3 while the Commodores fall to 5-2.
"Our team stepped up strong today," said head coach Alex Kahoe following SJU's third win of the season. "In the second half, they really stepped it up and really were able to pull it away together. We've been in this situation before, and I'm proud of them to be able to turn it around and flip the switch for the second half. Bec [Lane] really stepped it up offensively with four goals and Liz [O'Sullivan] really stepped up and had some big saves in the cage."
Junior attacker Francesca Donato added two goals and two assists in the victory, as she and Lane combined for eight points on the afternoon.
The Hawks jumped out to an early four-goal lead on goals from freshman attacker Stephanie Kelly (29:38), Lane (28:02), and Donato (25:26, 25:06).
Vanderbilt's Kayla Peterson chipped back with back-to-back goals (20:13, 18:13) to pull the Commodore's deficit to two, but senior midfielder Kate Payne (14:21) and sophomore midfielder Julia Pash (12:21) scored two of the game's next three to keep SJU at a three-goal advantage, 6-3, heading into the final third of the first half.
The Commodores would then tear of on a 5-1 run, which included a trio of eight meter goals, to take an 8-7 edge into the halftime break; Julie Blaze (EMO goal, 11:24) and Matthewson (9:58, 8:44) combined to equalize the score at six apiece before Lane put away SJU's go-ahead just 37 seconds later to put the Hawks back up, 7-6, with 8:07 to play in the first.
Peterson took advantage of a Vanderbilt EMO to score her fourth of the half at the 7:05 mark to even the score back up at seven, and Mathewson scored her third of the half on an eight meter with 19 ticks on the scoreboard to put the visitors up by one, 8-7, after the first 30:00.
The Commodores came out of the halftime break firing and taking a two-goal advantage on a Melanie Becker unassisted score at the 26:30 mark.
From there, it was all about the Hawks' offense.
Lane (20:55) and junior midfielder Ally Beck (19:19) erased the deficit with unassisted scores, evening the slate at nine.
Vanderbilt took its final lead of the game less than a minute later on Mathewson's fourth of the day (18:37), an EMO goal, but Lane converted on an eight meter (15:50), Payne scored an EMO goal on a feed from Donato just 67 seconds later (14:43), and senior midfielder Aly Gormley scored unassisted just 70 seconds after that (13:33) to put the Hawks up, 12-10, entering the final frame of the second half.
From there, it was all about the Hawks' defense.
Just ten seconds after taking its two-goal lead on Gormley's first score of the season, SJU was hit with its fourth yellow card of the day, resulting in an unreleasable, two-minute penalty and two-minute, extra player opportunity for Vanderbilt. SJU's defensive unit did a brilliant job of killing off that two-minute, man-down disadvantage.
O'Sullivan then shut down a Becker shot with 8:00 to play and a Gabrielle Fornia shot with 2:56 to play to preserve the 12-10 advantage as time expired.
The graduate student goalkeeper was phenomenal in net, making nine saves, four in the first half and five in the second, and holding the Commodore offense to a season-low 10 goals scored in the full 60:00.
For the game, Saint Joseph's owned a 32-28 edge in shots with two more than Vanderbilt in each half, while the Commodores owned a slight 16-15 edge in ground balls. Despite winning 15 of the game's 24 draw controls and six of eight in the second half, the Commodores turned the ball over 10 times in the second half the give the Hawks the offensive advantage.
Beck, who came up big in scoring the 9-9 equalizer in the second half, went for two ground balls and a game-high four caused turnovers, while Donato and senior defender Catie Vivian were good for three ground balls apiece. Pash went for one goal and one assist and matched a game-high five draw controls.
Saint Joseph's closes out its three-game homestand to host #10/10 Towson (4-1) this Wednesday, March 14. Start time is set for 4:00 p.m. on Sweeney Field.
GAME NOTES: Saint Joseph's improves to 2-2 all-time against Vanderbilt after the teams met on Sunday afternoon for the first time since 1998... With four points on four goals, junior midfielder Rebecca Lane moves from seventh into a tie for fifth, with Meghan McDevitt '13, in career points (150) on Hawk Hill... Her four goals also gives her 86 for her career, which puts her just two shy of breaking into SJU's top ten for career goals... With 10 shots, Lane remains 10th in career shots (191) on Hawk Hill.