PHILADELPHIA – Providence goalkeeper Tate Boyce made 27 saves to hand the Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse squad its first loss of the season, a 14-5 decision on Sweeney Field on Saturday afternoon. With the loss, the Hawks fall to 2-1 while the Friars even out at 2-2.
Freshman attackman Ryan Doran led the Hawks in points for the second consecutive game with three on one goal and two helpers while sophomore midfielder Austin Strazzulla hit the back of the net twice. Sophomore attackmen Nate Patterson and Matt Tufano, making his first collegiate start in place of classmate Shane Fable, also scored while sophomore midfielders Teo Domic and Nick Vernacchio dished out assists to complete SJU's offense.
The Hawks took 53 shots on the day in comparison to the Friars' 39, including 19 in the fourth quarter, but Boyce made 10 saves in the first quarter, eight in the fourth, and nine in between to turn away 27 potential scores.
"We generated some good scoring opportunities, but we would've liked to have played better defense early in the game," said head coach Taylor Wray following the contest. "We didn't shoot the ball particularly well . . . [Boyce] is an excellent goalie, one of the best around, but we did not shoot the ball to good locations. Any time you face a goalie that makes 27 saves, the outcome is going to be what it was today."
Providence fired off four straight goals to open the game before Strazzulla put away his first of the afternoon on a feed from Doran with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter.
The Friars scored twice more (7:53, 6:47) to go up by five before Doran found Patterson (1:38) to send the Hawks into the lockerroom trailing by four, 6-2.
Providence turned in a 5-0 third quarter to go up by nine, 11-2, entering the final 15:00.
With the Hawks trailing 12-2 after Providence's Nick Hatzipetrakos completed a hat trick (10:57), Strazzulla converted an EMO on a feed from Domic (9:00) and Doran scored unassisted (8:04) to close the deficit to eight, 12-4.
After two more Friars goals (6:15, 4:55), Tufano put away his first collegiate goal on a feed from Vernacchio at the 4:02 mark, and that 14-5 score would stand as time expired.
In a game slewed with penalties, the Hawks were hurt by a 1-of-7 EMO conversion percentage, while the Friars scored two man-up goals in four opportunities.
The Hawks won the ground ball game, 31-19, and went 59 percent (13-for-22) from the X.
Freshman face-off specialist Zach Cole turned in a 60 percent showing (12-of-20) with a game-high eight ground balls while freshman long stick midfielder Matt Popeck (3gb, 3ct) and junior close defenseman Liam Hare (2gb, 3ct) forced the Friars to turn the ball over six times.
"We out-ground-balled them and did a great job on the face-off," added Wray. "They did a nice job of taking away our transition game, which is something that was a success for us a week ago. Last week was very much a team win with elements on all ends. Today was the other end of that. It was a team loss."
Saint Joseph's has a quick turn-around before heading to undefeated Delaware (3-0) this Tuesday, February 26. Opening face-off is set for 2:00 p.m. at Delaware Stadium in Newark, Del. and will be streamed for free on Lax Sports Network.