PHILADELPHIA – After opening the season with a hard-fought battle against nationally-ranked competition, the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse team (0-1) will hit the road to face #13/19 Navy (0-1) this Sunday, February 17. Opening draw control at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. is set for 1:00 p.m.
The game will be streamed through the Patriot League Network.
Both teams are coming into the contest following 15-12 losses last Saturday; Saint Joseph's fell to then-#22 Georgetown while Navy fell at then-#16 Virginia.
THE 2019 SQUAD
Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Alex Kahoe, Saint Joseph’s returns 24 Hawks from a squad that is coming off of a program-record, 12-win season, which was capped by a run at the 2018 Atlantic 10 Championship Tournament; returning All-Conference selections include senior attacker Rebecca Lane (First Team), junior midfielder Bridget Cerciello (Second Team), and All-Rookie Team attackers Stephanie Kelly and Sam McGee, now entering their sophomore campaigns. The Hawks return 93 percent of their point distribution and 92 percent of their goal scoring, and the trio of Lane, Kelly, and senior attacker Francesca Donato comprise well over a quarter for both. The Hawks have added 12 true freshmen to the roster and have been predicted to finish third in the A-10 regular-season standings this spring, behind Richmond and UMass.
Entering her second season as a team captain, senior attacker Rebecca Lane has had a standout career for the Crimson and Gray. Through 52 career games played, she owns 187 points (fourth all-time at SJU), 109 goals (eighth all-time), and 78 assists (first all-time). She totaled at least 58 points in each of her first three seasons - going for 36g and 22a as a rookie back in 2016 (A-10 Rookie of the Year), 35g and 31a as a sophomore in 2017 (A-10 Second Team), and 36g and 25a last spring (A-10 First Team).
LEADERSHIP IN THE MIDFIELD
Three of SJU's four captains - senior Hayley Sabol, junior Bridget Cerciello, and junior Julia Pash - have excelled in the midfield over their careers on Hawk Hill and entered the 2019 season with 126 combined games played (and 93 combined starts) under their belts. All three were everyday starters last spring.
BECK'S BACK LINE
The numbers speak for themselves with senior defender Ally Beck - every season has been better than the last. After appearing in 18 games as a freshman (9 ground balls, 8 draw controls, 11 caused turnovers), Beck went for 22gb, 17dc, and 14ct as a sophomore starter and 29gb, 30dc, and 26ct as a junior starter. Beck ranks ninth all-time in career caused turnovers at SJU (52) and, if she performs at last year's pace, could leave Hawk Hill ranked second all-time in the category.
PROMISING PLATT PERFORMANCE
Junior defender Sarah Platt turned in an incredibly strong performance in SJU's 15-12, season-opening loss to then-#22 Georgetown last Saturday. Platt, who redshirted her freshman season at the University of Virginia and appeared once for the Hawks last year, made a splash with a team-high four ground balls and a team-high three caused turnovers against the nationally-ranked Hoyas. Platt challenged the Georgetown offense all day and paired well with senior veteran defender Ally Beck on the back line.
Navy enters Sunday's contest ranked 13th in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association Preseason Coaches Poll (the first in-season poll is set for February 18), 19th in the Nike/US Lacrosse Week 1 Poll (rankings are compiled by US Lacrosse Magazine staff and contributors, with input from college coaches) and 18th in the Inside Lacrosse Week 1 Media Poll.
The Midshipmen went 18-4 overall and 8-1 in the Patriot League last season, repeating as the PL Championship champions and reaching the 2018 NCAA Championship Quarterfinals, defeating Johns Hopkins and Loyola (Md.) before falling to Maryland. Navy was picked to finish second in the PL this spring, behind Loyola (Md.), and attacker Kelly Larkin, midfielder Andie O'Sullivan, and defender Marie Valenti were tabbed to the Preseason All-League Team, with Larkin also earning Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American honors.
Navy opened the season with a 15-12 loss at then-#16 Virginia last Saturday; Kayla Harris scored five goals to lead the Midshipmen while Larkin went for one goal and four helpers. Navy scored four of the first five goals of the game, but an ensuing 7-2 Cavalier run proved to be the difference. Natalie Irwin was tabbed the PL's Defender of the Week after posting three ground balls and two caused turnovers and helping to initiate 13 clear attempts at UVA.
HISTORY OF THE HAWKS/MIDSHIPMEN SERIES
Sunday's game will mark the second ever meeting between Saint Joseph’s and Navy. In the inaugural meeting between the two teams on March 6 of last season, the Hawks fell to the then-#11/8 Midshipmen, 16-11, on Sweeney Field as the visitors scored six of the game’s final eight goals to earn the victory.
Saint Joseph’s head coach Alex Kahoe played under Navy head coach Cindy Timchal at the University of Maryland from 1995-2000, when Timchal was the head coach of the Terps. Timchal and Kahoe won five national championships and three ACC championships together, while Kahoe was individually named a three-time All-American, three-time ACC Goalkeeper of the Year, and two-time NCAA Goalkeeper of the Year under Timchal’s direction.
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