PHILADELPHIA – Sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly (3g, 7a) and senior attacker Francesca Donato (6g, 3a) combined for 19 points to lead the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse squad to a 19-12 victory over Davidson in Atlantic 10 action on Sweeney Field on Sunday afternoon. With their sixth win in their last seven games, the Hawks improve to 9-5 overall (5-1 A-10) while the Wildcats fall to 7-7 overall (1-5 A-10).
The game saw multiple program records broken or matched.
With her first assist of the game, Donato broke the single-season assists record (34) while Kelly matched the single-game record for assists and, with her fourth point of the game, reached 100 points for her career.
Of the pair's 19 total points for the game, eight came from connecting with each other, as Kelly assisted on three of Donato's goals and Donato dished out a helper on one of Kelly's.
"I'm excited for their connections and the ways in which they're both stepping up," said head coach Alex Kahoe of her top offensive duo. "They're really getting it done offensively."
"We've really been working at it this week at practice," said Kelly of her connection with Donato. "We've just been trying to get back in the flow and trying to find our rhythm again, and today it was there. We were a bit telepathic today; she knew what I wanted, and I knew what she wanted."
"It definitely feels awesome, because I've been working hard for so long," said Donato of her single-season assists record. "This is such a good year for St. Joe's, but it's also a testament to my teammates. I obviously could not have broken this record if it wasn't for my other teammates having my back."
"It's been cool to experience being on the field and helping the younger girls come about," said Beck.
"It's an honor," added Sabol. "We've worked hard all four years and it shows all of our hard work as a team. I'm happy I get to share this with Ally."
Freshman attacker Lauren Figura added to the offense with a career-high five goals on six shots off the bench.
"I feel on fire," said Figura. "This was my biggest game yet, so I just felt it was there. With it being Alumnae and Family Day, it felt really good to see more people cheering than normal, and it really boosted my confidence."
Leading 6-5 with 10:13 to play in the first half, the Hawks scored the final four goals of the half to double up for a 10-5 advantage after the first 30:00; Figura opened that run (8:01) before Kelly assisted on goals by Donato (4:21), freshman midfielder Riley Delaney (3:44), and Donato again (2:39).
Davidson tore off on a four-goal run of its own toward the middle of the second half to pull to within three, 13-10, with 17:21 to play, but the Figura-Kelly pair shut that down; Kelly assisted on Figura's score at the 16:27 mark before converting on a free position attempt (12:30) and hitting Figura again at 7:01.
From that point, the Hawks held the Wildcats at bay en route to the 19-12 final.
For the game, Saint Joseph's held a 42-26 advantage in shots, propelled by a 23-12 second half, and a 22-16 edge in ground balls. The Hawks were also scarce in their turnovers, giving the ball away just 12 times for the entire 60:00.
Of note on the defensive end, junior captain Julia Pash dominated the back line for the Crimson and Gray, going for three ground balls and a game-high four caused turnovers. Sophomore midfielder Taylor Newman-Farr added three caused turnovers.
Freshman goalkeeper Amber Weedon earned the starting nod and made seven saves in the full 60:00 for her fourth win of the year and first league win of her career.
"I'm really proud of our team," closed Kahoe. "They stepped out today ready to play against a great Davidson team. Alumnae and Family Day always creates a great energy for the game. I really thank everybody for coming out and for supporting our team. Having that support from our alumnae, family, and friends really helps support us and motivate our team."
Saint Joseph's hits the road to face George Mason this Friday, April 12. Opening draw control down in Fairfax, Va. is set for 4:00 p.m.