VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Wildcats scored 12 times in the first half and never trailed as the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse squad dropped a local match-up at Villanova, 18-11, at Villanova Stadium on Thursday afternoon. With the loss, the Hawks had their two-game winning streak snapped and fall to 2-2 while the Wildcats extended their winning streak to three games to improve to 3-1.
Junior midfielder Sinead Brierley recorded her first collegiate hat trick and added a helper, all in the first half, to lead the Hawks in scoring with a single-game, career-high four points while junior midfielder Hayley Sabol and junior attacker Francesca Donato each scored twice.
Villanova scored its first two goals in the first 33 seconds of the game en route to a 5-1 run by the 24:02 mark. The Wildcats would then score six of the game's next 10 goals to take an 11-5 advantage into the final 5:03 of the first half.
Sabol (2:54) and Brierley, assisted by sophomore midfielder Bridget Cerciello (2:41), combined for back-to-back scores to pull the Hawks back to within four goals with just minutes left in the first half, but Villanova's Ashley Lynch answered at the 2:02 mark to give the Wildcats a five-goal edge, 12-7, entering the halftime break.
Brierley factored into four of SJU's seven first-half scores with her hat trick and helper in the first 30:00.
Villanova opened the second half with a three-goal run (28:59, 26:24, 23:47), but Cerciello (20:03) and Donato (16:46) scored back-to-back goals to cut the Hawks' deficit to six, 15-9.
The Wildcats responded with another pair of goals (15:04, 9:17) to open up an eight-goal lead, but again the Hawks responded, as freshman midfielder Taylor Newman-Farr (7:27) and Sabol (4:14) scored to bring the Hawks to within six, 17-11.
However, the Hawks were unable to string together more scores, and Villanova's Devin Hassinger put away an eight meter goal with one tick remaining on the scoreboard to give Villanova its 18th and final goal of the day.
Freshman goalkeeper Corinne Buttner played a season-high 41:44 off the bench, making four saves with eight goals allowed. Graduate student goalkeeper Liz O'Sullivan (2-2) started the game and was tagged with the loss with three saves and 10 goals allowed in the first 18:16.
For the game, Saint Joseph's owned a slight edge in shots, 34-31, but Villanova scored on 12 of their 20 first-half shots and six of their 11 second-half shots to go 18-of-31 for the game.
The Hawks earned a 16-13 advantage in ground balls while the Wildcats commanded the circle, winning 20 of the game's 30 draw controls, including eight of 10 in the second half. Junior midfielder Ally Beck scooped up a game-high four ground balls and recorded a pair of caused turnovers while senior defender Juliana Strazulo went for three ground balls, a game-high three caused turnovers, and two ground balls off the bench.
Of note, the game was slewed with cards, as the Hawks were tagged with eight, which allowed for multiple EMO goals by the Wildcats.
Saint Joseph's returns home to kick off a three-game homestand next Wednesday, March 7 vs. nationally-ranked Navy (3-1). Start time is set for 3:00 p.m. on Sweeney Field. Navy, ranked eighth in this week's Cascade Media Poll and 11th in this week's IWLCA Coaches Poll, is set to play Winthrop on Saturday, March 3 at Tierney Field in Spark, Md. before Wednesday's game on Hawk Hill.
Wednesday's game will be dedicated to the One Love Foundation. For more information, please click here.
Sideline Photos, LLC's photos from today's game are available for sale at Photoshelter.com.