PHILADEPHIA – The top-seeded Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse team (11-3, 6-0 NEC) will host #4 Hobart (4-9, 3-3 NEC) in Game One of the Northeast Conference semi-finals on Thursday, May 1. Opening face-off at Sweeney Field is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. The meeting marks the second time in a five-day stretch that the Hawks and Statesmen will face each other.
Live streaming of the game will be available through NEC Front Row. For system requirements and best streaming practices, please visit: NEC Front Row.
“It’s exciting for our program," said head Coach Taylor Wray of winning the NEC regular-season title and earning the right to host the NEC Championships. "We knew that we had an opportunity to compete in this league and our goal from ay one has been to make the conference tournament and to give it everything we’ve got to win it. To win the regular-season title is a great accomplishment because it gives you the opportunity to host. To have the tournament here on Sweeney Field and to share it with our fans and alumni and student body and for the players to be able to play at home in the postseason is really exciting for them.”
Saint Joseph’s leads the nation in man-down defense as the Hawks' defensive unit holds its opponents scoreless 80 percent of the time. SJU opponents have had 55 extra man opportunities and have only scored on 11 of those possessions as the Hawks have held their opponents to a 20% EMO conversion rate.
In addition to leading the nation in man-down defense, Saint Joseph's leads the Northeast Conference in scoring margin (3.21), scoring offense (11.29), shot percentage (.301), and winning percentage (.786) and ranks second in face-off winning percentage (.498), points per game (16.50), and scoring defense (8.07).
A four-time NEC Player of the Week, redshirt junior attackman Ryan McGee averages a conference-leading 3.79 points per game on 33 goals and 20 assists heading into Thursday. McGee leads the NEC in points per game, goals per game (2.83), and shots per game (8.83). Freshman attackman Michael Rastivo (22G, 7A), junior midfielder Mike Dougherty (17G, 12A), senior midfielder Johnny Simanski (17G, 4A), and sophomore attackmen Pat Swanick (14G, 2A) and Matt Blasco (10G, 6A) also boast double-digit numbers in goals for the Crimson and Gray.
Junior defenseman Will Farrell leads SJU's back unit with a team-best 39 ground balls and 26 caused turnovers; his 1.86 caused turnovers per game rank the junior second in the NEC. Sophomore John Winchell (33GB, 15CT) and junior Kevin Barrow (28GB, 16CT) have combined for 61 ground balls and 31 caused turnovers on the defensive end of the field. Senior Will Abbott has gone 65-of-130 from the face-off for a .500 percentage from the X while freshmen Danny Manning and Mike Lanham have also been consistent in the circle.
The Hawks have double the talent between the pipes in junior goalkeeper Dustin Keen (6-2) and three-time NEC Defender of the Week freshman T.J. Jones (5-1). Jones is 4-0 in SJU's last four consecutive outings.
After starting the season 0-5, Hobart (4-9, 3-3 NEC) is 4-4 since March 11 with NEC wins over Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary's, and Wagner. Jake McHenry (26G, 2A) and Matt Opsahi (21G, 8A) lead the Statesmen's offense while Cam Stone (8G, 19A) ranks second in the NEC in assists per game. Peter Zonino (2-8) owns a 10.19 goals-against average and .514 save percentage in 718:33. Hobart averages 8.92 goals on 32.0 shots per game.
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST THE STATESMEN
Saint Joseph's is 1-2 all-time against Hobart. The Hawks played the Statesmen three days ago and downed them 15-8 in Geneva, N.Y. on Saturday, April 26. Prior to that meeting, the Hawks fell to the Statesmen twice between 2008-09.
SJU's 21-9 win over Sacred Heart on Saturday earned Saint Joseph's the right to host the 2014 Northeast Conference Championship. The tournament will be held May 1-3 on Sweeney Field. #1 Saint Joseph's (11-3, 6-0 NEC) will face #4 Hobart (4-9, 3-3 NEC) in the first of two semi-finals at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 1. #2 Bryant (12-4, 5-1 NEC) will then face #3 Sacred Heart (6-8, 4-2 NEC) in the second semi-final game at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 1. The winners of each semi-final game will advance to the championship game to be played at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 3.
THE VOTES ARE IN
The Hawks exploded for a 15-8 Northeast Conference victory over Hobart on Saturday, April 26 to clinch the 2014 NEC regular-season title en route to being ranked 19th by Lacrosse Magazine this week. The Hawks also received votes in the Warrior Men's DI Media Poll for the fourth consecutive week. The Hawks also received votes in the USILA 2014 Coaches Poll for the second consecutive week.
NOTICE IN THE NEC
Saint Joseph's has earned Northeast Conference weekly recognition 14 times this season. Redshirt junior attackman Ryan McGee has been named the NEC Player of the Week four times while sophomore attackmen Matt Blasco and Pat Swanick also received the recognition once each. Freshman goalkeeper T.J. Jones has earned Defender of the Week accolades for the past three consecutive weeks while junior defenseman Will Farrell and goalkeeper Dustin Keen have earned the defensive honors once each. Jones, freshman midfielder Anthony Joaquim and attackman Michael Rastivo have all been named the NEC Rookie of the Week.
ON A ROLL
• Saint Joseph’s sports a five-game winning streak and has won 10 of its last 11 games to own a 11-3 overall record heading into postseason contention this Thursday.
• SJU's 11-3 overall record is the program's most successful regular-season record in program history.
• With 11 wins, the Hawks have now won 11 games in the same season for the first time since 2000 and for just the second time in program history.
• The Hawks haven't lost for 35 days, since March 25 when SJU dropped a 14-10 snowy battle to Drexel.
• Saint Joseph's concludes the regular season at home with a 5-1 record for a .833 win percentage at home, SJU's best win percentage at home in program history. SJU's one loss at home this season marks the least amount of losses at home in one season in program history.
• Saint Joseph's concludes the regular season at on the road with a 6-2 record for a .750 win percentage at on the road, SJU's best win percentage for away games in program history.
• The Hawks finished April with a 5-0 record to become the only team in SJU men's lacrosse program history to win every game in April.
• SJU's win at Hobart on April 26 marked the first time in school history that the men's lacrosse program had won six consecutive road games in the same season.
• The Hawks sported a 5-1 record for games played through March, which is SJU's best record through six games played in March since 14 years ago when the 2000 team won its first six games of the season, all in March, en route to a 6-2 record through eight games played in March.
LAST TIME OUT: Saint Joseph's 15, Hobart 8
The Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse team defeated Hobart, 15-8, at Boswell Field on Saturday, April 26 to clinch the 2014 Northeast Conference regular season title. In their inaugural season in the NEC, the Hawks posted an undefeated regular season in league play and currently stand at 11-3 overall and 6-0 in the Northeast Conference heading into the 2014 NEC Championships this weekend. Redshirt junior attackman Ryan McGee notched a team-best five points on three goals and two assists while freshman attackman Mike Rastivo also added three goals. Freshman goalkeeper T.J. Jones made 14 saves - allowing just four goals - in 50:51.
LEADERS OF THE LEAGUE
The Northeast Conference game played between the Saint Joseph’s Hawks and Bryant Bulldogs on April 5 was a deciding factor in NEC standings as Saint Joseph's and Bryant tied for first in the league. The Hawks took home the victory to take the top spot in the conference. With their win over Hobart on April 26, the Hawks concluded the NEC regular season 6-0 to clinch the regular-season title.
MILESTONE WATCH: RYAN MCGEE
Redshirt junior attackman Ryan McGee reached the 100-point milestone of his career with a four-goal effort against Mount St. Mary's on April 1. McGee now owns 116 career points on 75 career goals and 41 career assists.
In single-season records, McGee ranks...
• Second in shots – 115
• Sixth in goals – 33
• Ties for seventh in points (with Drew Foley ’96) – 53
• Four assists shy of cracking the top ten in single-season assists
In career records, McGee ranks...
• Fifth in shots – 257
• Ninth in points – 116
• 10th in goals – 75
• Ties for 10th in assists (with Randy McNeill ’01 and Kyle Williams ’13) – 41
STARTING IT UP
Four Hawks have started all 14 games thus far. Redshirt junior attackman Ryan McGee and junior midfielder Mike Dougherty have combined for 50 goals and 32 assists in their 14 starts while freshman attackman Ray Vandegrift (9G, 6A) averages over one point per game in a standout rookie season. Sophomore defenseman John Winchell worked his way into a starting role on the defensive end this season and averages 2.4 ground balls per game.