PHILADELPHIA – After opening the Atlantic 10 schedule with a pair of road victories last weekend, the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse squad (6-4, 2-0 A-10) returns home to host VCU (4-5, 1-1 A-10) this Friday, March 29. Opening draw control is set for 4:30 p.m. on Sweeney Field.
Live streaming ($) of Friday's game and all remaining regular-season home games will be available in the United States via a subscription to ESPN+, ESPN’s new streaming platform and the new home for a majority of Atlantic 10 Conference live digital events. To sign up, please click here. For international streaming (A-10 Network), please click here. Live stats will also be provided for all home games, at SJUHawks.com.
The Hawks will then head to UMass (7-3, 2-0 A-10), who had won the A-10 Tournament nine consecutive times before getting knocked off by Richmond last spring. The Minutewomen will host George Mason on Friday (3:00 p.m.) before welcoming the Hawks at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Live streaming of that contest will also be made available through ESPN+.
Saint Joseph's has been predicted to finish third in the regular-season standings this year, as voted on by the league's 10 head coaches and announced on January 30. The Hawks finished third (7-2 A-10) in league standings last spring and made their third consecutive postseason appearance, reaching the semifinals. Returning All-Conference selections from a year ago include First Team attacker Rebecca Lane, Second Team midfielder Bridget Cerciello, and Rookie Team attackers Stephanie Kelly and Sam McGee.
VCU was predicted to finish sixth, while UMass was picked second just one point shy of league-favorite Richmond. The 2019 A-10 Championship will be held at George Mason Stadium in Fairfax, Va. from April 25-28. Following the expansion of the postseason field prior to the start of the 2016 season, six teams will qualify for the 2019 A-10 postseason. The Hawks have reached the semifinals in each of their last three seasons.
FRIDAY, MARCH 29 VS. VCU
Heading into Friday's game, VCU's Sky Hyatt ranks second in the league in scoring with 3.67 goals per game while SJU senior attacker Francesca Donato ranks third in the league in points per game (4.50). Additionally, SJU brings the defensive edge as the Crimson and Gray have the third-best scoring defense in the conference, allowing just 10.30 goals per contest. Anchoring that back line is senior Sinead Brierley, who sits third in the conference in ground balls per game (3.20) and sixth in caused turnovers per game (1.80).
VCU is 4-5 on the season; the Rams opened up the year with three wins in their first four contests, with a victory over Old Dominion, 13-10, an 11-8 loss vs. UMBC, and back-to-back wins over Longwood, 18-13, and LIU Brooklyn, 21-12, before dropping three in a row to Army, 14-12, then-#20 Notre Dame, 15-4, and William and Mary, 17-13, to close non-conference play. VCU then opened A-10 action with a 21-16 home win over Duquesne before falling at UMass, 22-14, this past Sunday.
Of note, VCU played six of its first nine games of the season at home and are winless in true road games (0-2 away, 1-0 neutral).
This week's A-10 Player of the Week, Sky Hyatt (33g, 8a) recorded 16 points (14g, 2a) against Duquesne and UMass last weekend. Hyatt, Molly Barcikowski (20g, 16a), Jessica Del Rossi (20g, 1a), and Keriann McTavish (15g, 10a) lead VCU's offense while Caroline Glenn is a force in ground balls (23), draw controls (26), and caused turnovers (15). In net, Ria Peralta (4-5, 1-1 A-10) sports a .455 save percentage and 14.49 goals against average with 95 saves and 114 goals allowed in 471:57.
VCU went 7-11 overall and 5-4 in conference play last year, falling to Davidson in the A-10 Tournament First Round.
HISTORY OF THE HAWKS/RAMS SERIES
Friday's game will mark the fourth all-time meeting between Saint Joseph's and VCU. Senior captain Rebecca Lane has had big games against the Rams over her career, breaking the SJU program record for assists in an 18-7 road win last spring and going for six goals and two assists in an 18-17 home win in 2017. SJU also defeated the Rams in 2016, by a final score of 15-4.
SUNDAY, MARCH 31 AT UMASS
UMass enters its A-10 game vs. George Mason on Friday having won both league games last weekend: a 20-9 road showing over Davidson and 22-14 home victory over VCU. UMass had opened the season with a 24-4 win over Bryant, back-to-back losses against then-#1 Boston College, 25-14, and Harvard, 18-12, and four straight wins over UConn, 19-13, Marist, 18-8, Ohio State, 15-14, and Niagara, 25-11, before dropping its non-conference finale at Dartmouth, 19-7.
Kiley Anderson (41g, 5a), Kaitlyn Cerasi (20g, 24), and Haley Connaughton (17g, 18a) lead UMass' offense while Anderson has also gone for 60 draw controls. In net, Gina Carroll (6-3, 1-0 A-10) sports a .383 save percentage and 13.92 goals against average with 75 saves and 121 goals allowed in 521:25, all but 78:35 on the season; Lauren Hiller (1-0, 1-0 A-10), however, earned UMass' most recent win with four saves vs. 10 goals allowed in the first 48:35 against VCU.
UMass went 14-5 overall and 8-1 in A-10 play last spring, reaching the A-10 title game before falling to Richmond, 12-11, in overtime to be denied an automatic birth to NCAAs for the first time in nine years.
HISTORY OF THE HAWKS/MINUTEWOMEN SERIES
Sunday's game will mark the 28th all-time meeting between Saint Joseph’s and Massachusetts. UMass owns a 25-2 all-time series advantage and has won the last 15 meetings. Despite seven points (3g, 4a) from then-junior midfielder Rebecca Lane, SJU fell by a final score of 23-13 last spring. The Hawks’ last win against the Minutewomen came on April 10, 2005, by a final score of 10-7, on the road. SJU also won in 1996. Saint Joseph’s and UMass have faced each other every year since 1994.
DONATO, OFFENSE CRUSH WEEKEND
Led by senior attacker Francesca Donato's 12 points (5g, 7a), the Hawks outscored their opposition 38-10 with road wins over St. Bonaventure, 17-4, and Duquesne, 21-6, last weekend (Thursday/Sunday). Sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly added nine points (4g, 5a) while freshman attacker Lauren Figura (5g, 1a) and senior midfielder Hayley Sabol (3g, 3a) registered six points apiece and sophomore midfielder Taylor Newman-Farr scored five goals on five shots. In all, 15 Hawks scored in those two games while 18 Hawks recorded at least one point.
BRIERLEY, DEFENSE CRUSH WEEKEND
The offense wasn't the only strong part of the Hawks' two wins last past weekend; SJU's defensive unit held its opposition to a combined 10 total goals allowed in 120 minutes of action. Senior defender Sinead Brierley led the way with a team-high nine ground balls and team-high five caused turnovers while junior defender Julia Pash went for seven ground balls and sophomore midfielder Taylor Newman-Farr added six ground balls and four caused turnovers. Additionally, sophomore goalkeeper Corinne Buttner made 11 saves vs. six goals allowed in 99:55 of action.
HOME SWEET HOME
Despite suffering four losses through eight games during the non-conference season, the Hawks are 3-1 on Hawk Hill with wins coming over Temple, 17-8, Villanova, 16-8, and Delaware, 9-7. SJU's only home loss came at the hands of then-#22 Georgetown in the season opener.
6-0 VS. 0-4
Saint Joseph's is 6-0 this year against unranked teams and teams that have not received votes toward national rankings with wins over Temple, 17-8, Villanova, 16-8, Lafayette, 16-12, Delaware, 9-7, St. Bonaventure, 17-4, and Duquesne, 21-6. The Hawks are 0-4 against nationally-ranked programs and teams that have received votes toward national rankings but put up a combined 40 goals in losses to then-#22 Georgetown, 12-9, then-#13/19/18 Navy, 12-11, then-#17/8/10 Johns Hopkins, 17-11, and Towson, 17-9, who had received votes in the IWLCA Coaches Poll at the start of the week of competition against the Hawks.
"ATTACKING" THE POINTS MILESTONE
With her fourth goal (and fifth point) of the game in SJU's 16-8 win over Villanova on March 2, senior attacker Rebecca Lane reached her 200th career point to become only the second Hawk in program history to reach the 200-point mark, joining Shannon Feite '97 (243).
With her first goal (and first point) of the game in SJU's 17-11 loss at then-#17 Johns Hopkins on March 6, senior attacker Francesca Donato reached her 100th career point.
Entering her second season as a team captain, senior attacker Rebecca Lane has had a standout career for the Crimson and Gray. Through 58 career games played, she owns 209 points (second all-time at SJU), 125 goals (fifth all-time), and 84 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) - and has 24 this year.
HAWKS IN THE PROGRAM RECORDS
Senior attackers Rebecca Lane and Francesca Donato, senior midfielder Hayley Sabol, senior defender Ally Beck, and sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly own spots in SJU's all-time top-ten of multiple individual categories.
1. Rebecca Lane '19 - 84
2. Shannon Feite '97 - 72
T-5. Meghan McDevitt '13 - 56
T-5. Nora McCallion '17 - 56
7. Francesca Donato '19 - 51
8. Maggie Egan '17 - 48
9. Jenna Martino '10 - 38
10. Stephanie Kelly '21 - 36
*NOTE - Donato's 24 assists this season tie for fourth in SJU's single-season records; the all-time record is 33.
Career Caused Turnovers
2. Alli MacDonald '12 - 67
3. Barb Constantine '99 - 66
4. Abby Renninger '09 - 65
T-5. Elizabeth Fox '12 - 62
T-5. Kathleen Burke '03 - 62
T-5. Ally Beck '19 - 62
T-10. Michelle Van Wert '05 - 50
T-10. Kristen Kelbon '18 - 50
on the cusp... Julia Pash '20 - 48
on the cusp... Hayley Sabol '19 - 42
on the cusp... Sinead Brierley '19 - 37
Taylor Newman-Farr is from a military family with military aspirations of her own. From excelling in her JROTC program at South Lakes High School to working toward becoming a nurse in the Air Force, SJU's starting sophomore midfielder has her eyes set on taking the world by storm. Read the full feature here: tinyurl.com/GoingFarr22.
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