PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse squad scored the first nine goals of the game en route to a convincing 16-8 win over Villanova on Saturday afternoon on Sweeney Field. With their second consecutive win, the Hawks improve to 2-2 while the Wildcats fall to 2-3.
With the program's first win over the Wildcats since 2009, the Crimson and Gray coaching staff and all current players earned their first win over Villanova.
"This is a great team win," said fifth-year head coach Alex Kahoe following the game. "Villanova is a great team, and we really stepped out there to compete today. We played together and played good St. Joe's lacrosse."
Sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly led SJU's offense with a career-high eight points on four goals and a game-high four assists while senior attackers Rebecca Lane (5g, 1a) and Francesca Donato (3g, 3a) rounded out a starting attacking trio that posted 20 points on the day.
Lane reached a milestone in the second half as her goal at the 22:50 mark marked her 200th career point. Lane becomes only the second Hawk in program history to reach the 200-point mark, joining Shannon Feite '97 (243).
"I'm super excited, especially now with the atmosphere after having a really good home win over Villanova," reflected Lane on the accomplishment. "It's always been a game that's been a battle each year we have played them. Heading into the game, our focus was on good, offensive motion, good chemistry, big stops on defense, and connecting all over the field. That's what we did. I'm excited to reach that milestone... it feels like everything is paying off."
"It's a testament to Bec's hard work, the time she puts in, and her love for the game," added Kahoe. "It's a testament to her teammates, as well."
The Hawks were outstanding on the defensive end of the field, holding the Wildcats to just two goals in the first half, both scored late (3:16, 1:00). Senior Ally Beck anchored that back line with four ground balls and three caused turnovers.
"We were focused on coming out strong and starting off really well," said Beck. "We had a lot of interceptions and caused turnovers that helped the attack get their motion going."
"Defensively, we really came out aggressive," added Kahoe. "They really played tough, had each others' backs, and stuck to the game plan."
Despite seeing its opposition win eight of the 13 first-half draw controls, Saint Joseph's hounded Villanova into 15 turnovers in the first half alone.
It was all about the SJU attackers to start the scoring as Kelly (3g, 2a during that opening run), Lane (2g, 1a), Donato (2g, 1a), and fourth starting attacker sophomore Sam McGee (1g, 1a) scored or assisted on the first eight goals of the contest.
Junior midfielder Penny Green put away her first of the season on an eight-meter (6:57) before the Wildcats scored two of the final three to close the half as the Hawks took a 10-2 advantage after the first 30:00.
Following Brittany Bruno's second goal of the game to close Villanova's deficit to seven, 10-3, at the 28:42 mark of the second half, Saint Joseph's attackers tore off for four more uncontested scores from Kelly (27:25), McGee (25:14), Donato (24:12), and Lane (22:50) to take a 14-3 advantage into the final 22:50.
On Lane's goal at the 22:50 mark, the Hawks called a timeout to an eruption from the team and Sweeney Field bleachers honoring the captain's 200th career point.
Villanova scored five of the final seven goals of the game as Kahoe went deep into her bench in the second half, but the Hawks held onto a convincing lead en route to the 16-8 final.
For the game, Saint Joseph's held edges in shots (35-27) and ground balls (25-21), the latter propelled by a 19-9 first half.
Led by Beck's team-high four ground balls, five Hawks posted three or more ground balls, including freshman midfielder Sophia Kolkka who went for three ground balls and two caused turnovers. In addition to posting three points (2g, 1a), McGee added three caused turnovers.
Freshman goalkeeper Amber Weedon (2-0) made eight saves vs. seven goals allowed in 56:01 for her second collegiate victory.
The Hawks hit the road for their next three, beginning at Johns Hopkins (4-1) next Wednesday, March 6. Opening draw control is set for 4:00 p.m. at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md.