PHILADELPHIA – Saint Joseph's senior attackers Francesca Donato and Rebecca Lane and sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly combined for 11 goals and 19 points to lead the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse squad to a convincing 17-8 win over Temple on Thursday evening on Sweeney Field. With their first win of the season, the Hawks improve to 1-2 while the Owls fall to 1-3.
"It's really exciting," said fourth-year head coach Alex Kahoe after the win. "I'm really proud of our team. They've been working so hard, playing together, having each others' backs, and playing St. Joe's lacrosse. I'm so excited for them to feel the success from all of the hard work they've put in."
Donato led the way with a game-high seven points on four goals and three assists; after an 11-point performance against the Owls last spring, Donato has now put up an incredible 18 points in her last two games vs. Temple. Lane (4g, 2a) and Kelly (3g, 3a) went for six points apiece while sophomore attacker Sam McGee rounded out the starting attack unit with a pair of goals.
"They're connecting," added Kahoe of her starting attackers. "They're feeling the flow and seeing the options. It helps when they can work well together and execute."
Entering the game with 189 career points, Lane's six-point effort brought her to 195 for her career as she passed both former teammate Nora McCallion '16 (190) and Jenna Martino '10 (192) to now sit in sole possession of second all-time in career points at SJU; Shannon Feite '97 holds the record with 243.
"It's really exciting, and passing Nora . . . she was a big contributor to my points standings," beamed Lane following the game. "Playing with her and playing with all of the alumni that have graduated is really exciting. Now that Fran [Donato] and I are seniors, we get to be in that position where Nora and all of the alumni were for us. While you're playing, it just rolls, and you're in the moment and playing the game. Especially tonight, it's such a team win. It's not something that crosses your mind until after the fact."
In her collegiate debut, freshman goalkeeper Amber Weedon (1-0) made six saves vs. seven goals allowed in the initial 54:07 to earn her first collegiate victory. The rookie was strong in net, with four saves in the first half and two in the second, including quite a few stops on point-blank shots.
Saint Joseph's opened the game by ripping off four straight over the first 6:54 and never looked back as the Hawks would lead by at least three goals for the entirety of the game. Lane tallied twice (26:58, 25:07) on feeds from Donato and Kelly to open the scoring before assisting on McGee's first of the day (24:02). Freshman midfielder Olivia Little closed out the opening, uncontested run on an eight-meter (23:06).
Temple got on the board on an eight-meter at the 21:54 mark, but the Hawks scored three of the game's next four goals to take a 7-2 advantage into the final 8:56 of the first half; Donato scored twice (18:27, 11:26) before assisting on Kelly's first of the game (8:56).
The Owls and Hawks alternated goals to end the half, as sophomore attacker Emma Murphy scored her first collegiate goal (5:50), assisted by senior defender Ally Beck, and then went on to provide the helper that completed Donato's first-half hat trick (0:32) as SJU took a five-goal lead, 9-4, into the halftime break.
Saint Joseph's used a pair of runs to completely put Temple away in the second half.
The Hawks scored the first three goals of the second half as Lane (24:25), Kelly (21:35), and Murphy (20:33) put the Hawks up by eight, 12-4, before the Owls scored twice in just over a five-minute span (17:35, 12:28), their first back-to-back scores of the night.
McGee (11:45) and junior midfielder Julia Pash (11:15) then scored within 30 seconds of one another and Kelly (9:58) and Lane (8:00) closed out the four-goal run to send the game into running clock, 16-6.
Donato added her fourth goal of the day on an unassisted score with 3:28 to play to take home the title of the game's scoring leader.
"As a team, we've been working really hard," said Donato following the win. "We had two tough competitors before this, and this was a really nice reward for all of the hard work we've put in."
For the game, Saint Joseph's held a 35-19 shot advantage, propelled by a 20-8 second half. The Hawks also earned 22 of the game's 35 ground balls despite Temple's 18-9 edge in the circle.
Saint Joseph's returns to action next Saturday, March 2 vs. Villanova. Opening draw control is set for noon on Sweeney Field.
NOTES: Saint Joseph's improves to 4-18 all-time against Temple, and after winning on the road last spring, Thursday's win marks the first time in the series' 22-year history that the Hawks have won back-to-back meetings with the Owls.