PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly posted six points (3g, 3a) and sophomore goalkeeper Corinne Buttner made 14 saves to lead the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse squad to a 9-7 win over Delaware on Sweeney Field on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Hawks close the non-conference schedule at .500 (4-4) while the Blue Hens fall to 3-5.
"Today was a great win for our team," said head coach Alex Kahoe following the game. "Delaware is a great team, and it really was a full, 60-minute battle. Offensively, Steph [Kelly] did a great job stepping up with six points, and I think this game really tested us defensively, as well. The defensive unit had to stay solid, and then Corinne [Buttner] backed up the defense with 14 saves. That's a great defensive effort."
Delaware's Caroline Farley earned 12 draw controls to help the Blue Hens win 15 of 18 total possessions on the day, but the Hawks forced 17 turnovers, led by senior Sinead Brierley (4), juniors Julia Pash (3) and Bridget Cerciello (3), and sophomore Taylor Newman-Farr (3).
Senior attacker Francesca Donato scored, on a feed from Kelly, just 15 seconds into the game to put the Hawks on the board early. Senior attacker Hayley Sabol then assisted on Newman-Farr's score (27:16) before converting on an eight-meter to extend SJU's lead, 3-0, at the 25:27 mark.
Delaware responded quickly with a pair (24:36, 23:18) before Donato and Kelly teamed up again for the senior's second of the game with 17:59 to go in the first.
The Hawks doubled their lead out to 6-3 by the 11:58 mark on Kelly's first of the day and redshirt freshman attacker Emma Murphy's score (11:58), assisted by Cerciello, and closed the half with two more, as Kelly assisted on freshman midfielder Sammy Tush's first career goal (5:41) and Donato hit Kelly (4:08) to go into the halftime break up by four, 8-4.
Only four goals were scored in the second half, with Delaware ripping off three consecutive goals (28:16, 16:55, 10:01), all influenced by Mia DeRuggiero, to creep to within one, 8-7, heading into the final 10:00 of regulation.
However, Buttner made back-to-back saves on free-position shots (9:01, 8:03) before Kelly completed her second hat trick in as many games to extend SJU's lead back out by two, 9-7, with 7:03 remaining.
The Hawks used a gritty defensive showing to hold the Blue Hens without a shot in those final seven minutes of play.
Delaware held a 29-20 advantage in shots, propelled by a 15-7 second half, while the Hawks owned a 21-19 edge in ground balls; Buttner scooped up four ground balls while Brierley, who also caused a game-high four turnovers, added three.
Buttner (1-2) was outstanding in net, making 14 saves vs. seven goals allowed in the full 60:00 for her first collegiate win between the pipes.
"It feels awesome," said Buttner after her first start on Sweeney Field this season. "The defense played great, so they were saving me, too, even when I didn't think I had the shot. Our attack made amazing plays and we had good transitions."
Saint Joseph's opens Atlantic 10 action next Friday, March 22 at St. Bonaventure. Opening draw control in Olean, N.Y. is set for 3:00 p.m.