PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse squad (2-2) will look to rebound from back-to-back losses when the Hawks host Monmouth (1-2) this Saturday, March 2. Opening face-off is set for 3:00 p.m. on Sweeney Field as the tail end of a doubleheader with women's lacrosse.
Live streaming of Saturday's contest and all remaining, regular-season home games will be available free of charge through NEC Front Row. For system requirements and best streaming practices, please visit: NEC Front Row. Live stats of all home games will also be provided via SJUHawks.com.
Saint Joseph's rookie face-off specialist Zach Cole ranks seventh nationally in winning percentage from the X (67.1 percent), with an improved clip of 72.1 percent on Sweeney Field. He and the Hawks will go up against a Monmouth squad coming off of its first win of the season, a 9-7 decision over Wagner on Tuesday where Zach Clemente scored four times.
THE 2019 SQUAD
Under the direction of eighth-year head coach Taylor Wray, a “new look” squad represents Saint Joseph's this spring. SJU returns four starters from a year ago, one in each position, in sophomore attackman Shane Fable, sophomore midfielder Nick Vernacchio, junior close defenseman Tyler Makar, and sophomore goalkeeper Mike Adler, as well as junior long stick midfielder Liam Hare, who has made the switch over to close defense, and sophomore face-off specialist Billy Jardeleza, whose versatility will allow for meaningful minutes as a short stick defensive midfielder this year.
Among the best in the nation at his position, Adler will be the backbone of the Hawks' defensive unit. Predicted to finish sixth in the Northeast Conference this year, the Hawks return All-Conference selections in Adler (Second Team, Rookie Team), Fable (Rookie Team), and Vernacchio (Rookie Team) while Makar was tabbed a 2019 Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-Northeast Conference Team defenseman.
GOALS ON GOALS ON GOALS!
Saint Joseph's exploded for 36 combined goals in its first two contests of the season with a 15-7 win over St. Bonaventure and a 21-10 win over Fairfield. Despite cooling off with 11 combined goals in its most recent two contests, SJU's offense has been led by sophomore attackman Nate Patterson (9g, 5a), freshman attackman Ryan Doran (6g, 5a), sophomore attackman Shane Fable (7g, 2a), and sophomore midfielder Nick Vernacchio (5g, 4a).
COLE COOL UNDER PRESSURE
Freshman face-off specialist Zach Cole didn't play like a rookie in his collegiate debut in SJU's 15-7 win over St. Bonaventure on February 9, winning 19 face-off possessions in 23 opportunities (82.6%) and scooping up 14 ground balls to lead the Hawks past the Bonnies. Cole followed up with a 21-for-28 showing from the X against Fairfield on February 16. In his first three collegiate games, Cole went 52-for-71 (73.2 percent) with 31 ground balls and five points (3g, 2a).
POINTS FOR PATTERSON
Sophomore attackman Nate Patterson waited two seasons to make his Hawk debut, and he didn't disappoint with a game-high six points on a game-high four goals (three in the second-half) and two assists in SJU's 15-7 win over St. Bonaventure on February 9. Patterson, who was on SJU's 2016-17 roster but missed his freshman season due to injury, left for Mercer for his redshirt freshman season. He's back donning the Crimson and Gray as a sophomore and leads the Hawks on the offensive end with a team-high 14 points on a team-high nine goals and a team-high five helpers.
After turning in one of the most successful rookie campaigns in Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse program history, sophomore goalkeeper Mike Adler returns for his second year between the pipes in 2019. After redshirting his true freshman season (2017) behind all-time Hawk great T.J. Jones, Adler went 10-4 with an 8.11 goals against average and .596 save percentage in 835:45 last spring, with 167 saves vs. 113 goals allowed. He ranked second in the NEC in both GAA and save percentage and, among the nation's best, ranked third nationally in save percentage and sixth in GAA. He backstopped a defensive unit that ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense at a clip of 8.00 goals allowed per game en route to being named to the Northeast Conference Second Team and Rookie Team and United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Team of the Week, twice. Adler is one of four team captains (Liam Hare, Thomas Tarleton, Nick Vernacchio).
Adler has 12 career wins to his name after victories over St. Bonaventure and Fairfield this spring.
NO LONGER ROOKIES
Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Adler, sophomore attackman Shane Fable, and sophomore midfielder Nick Vernacchio were all voted onto the 2018 Northeast Conference Rookie Team last spring. Now in their sophomore seasons, the expectations to lead a young squad are high for the trio.
The average number of seniors on each roster across the NCAA Division I 73 men's lacrosse programs this spring is nine. There are 44 teams with nine or more seniors on their 2019 roster. This spring, Saint Joseph's fields a roster with the smallest four-year senior class among all Division I programs that did not start up within the last three seasons. But if we're looking at what matters on the youngest team during eighth-year head coach Taylor Wray's tenure - a leadership presence that has bought into the culture of the Hawk Hill way - it really doesn't matter that there are only two seniors in the Class of 2019 to guide a roster comprised of 85% freshmen and sophomores. Senior midfielder Thomas LaRose and senior close defenseman Thomas Tarleton are more than enough. Check out the feature here.
The visiting Hawks are 1-2 after opening the season with back-to-back losses against then-#19 Princeton, 23-7, and Delaware, 8-4, and winning their most recent game, a 9-7 home victory over Wagner this past Tuesday.
Zach Clemente (6g), Griffin Figel (3g, 2a), Anthony Sardo (4g), and Eamon Campbell (4a) lead Monmouth's offense while Ian Weinberg sports a 50.8 percent mark (32-for-63) from the X with a team-high 11 ground balls. Chris Hervada (11gb) and Gordon Phillips (10gb, team-high 4ct) lead the visiting Hawks on the defensive end while Noah Lode (1-2) sports a .493 save percentage and 13.17 goals against average with 37 saves and 38 goals allowed in 173:11, all but 6:49 on the season.
Monmouth went 7-8 overall and 4-2 in the MAAC last spring and fell to Detroit Mercy in the MAAC Tournament, 12-9.
HISTORY OF THE HAWKS/HAWKS SERIES
Saturday’s game will mark the sixth all-time meeting between Saint Joseph’s and Monmouth, with all five games being played from 2014-18 under the direction of eighth-year head coach Taylor Wray. SJU is a perfect 5-0 all-time against Monmouth, outscoring the (New Jersey) Hawks by a combined margin of 55-26. Last year on the road, then-senior attackman Chris Blewitt scored four times, then-redshirt freshman goalkeeper Mike Adler made 13 saves, and then-freshman face-off specialist Billy Jardeleza won 13-of-19 possessions from the X. The last time SJU faced Monmouth at home, in 2017, Ray Vandegrift ’17 hit the back of the net with the overtime game-winner on a snow-dusted Sweeney Field.
All-time series results:
2018 - W - 11-5 - Away
2017 - W - 6-5 OT - Home
2016 - W - 18-8 - Away
2015 - W - 9-2 - Home
2014 - W - 11-6 - Away
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