PHILADELPHIA – Freshman Zach Cole won a dominant 74 percent of his face-offs, but the Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse squad ultimately fell to Robert Morris, 15-9, in Northeast Conference action on Sweeney Field on Saturday afternoon. The loss snaps a two-game win streak for the Hawks, who even out at 5-5 overall (1-1 NEC), while the Colonials improve to 2-7 (1-2 NEC).
"Zach's performance was awesome," said head coach Taylor Wray of his rookie's 20-of-27 showing and 14 ground balls from the X. "We did some good things again in transition, but as much as you try to take the transition game away from Robert Morris, that's their bread and butter."
Sophomore attackman Nate Patterson led SJU's offensive game with one goal and five helpers to factor into two-thirds of SJU's scoring plays.
Despite a 5-of-6 face-off showing from Cole, Robert Morris jumped out to a 5-1 edge, on six total shots, by the end of the first quarter in part due to seven SJU turnovers.
At the 10:04 mark of the second quarter, the Hawks were hit with a trio of penalties, one minor for a push and two non-releasable majors for unsportsmanlike conduct; the Colonials hit the back of the net three times for three man-up scores during that span (9:56, 9:26, 8:55).
"The turning point in the game was early, when I got unsportsmanlike fouls," added Wray. "I think that I hurt our team today and I apologize to them and take full responsibility."
Sophomore attackman Matt Tufano (2g, 1a), the only Hawk to score twice on the day, put away a man-up goal on a feed from Patterson (6:41) and then assisted on freshman attackman Ryan Doran's score (5:16) to bring the Hawks back to within five, 8-3, but RMU would tack on one more to close the half with a six-goal advantage.
The Colonials outscored the Hawks 4-3 in the third quarter to take a 13-6 advantage into the fourth, and despite sophomore midfielder Austin Strazzulla opening up the quarter strong with an EMO, assisted by Patterson (12:58), the Hawks couldn't get the offense generated in order to make a late run.
Of note, freshman defenseman Brandon Meyreles scored his first collegiate goal late in the third quarter.
Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Adler (5-5, 1-1 NEC) made eight saves in the full 60:00.
Saint Joseph's remains home to host Hobart (8-1, 2-0 NEC) next Saturday, April 6 for Alumni and Family Day. Opening face-off is set for 1:00 p.m. on Sweeney Field.