The Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse program will recognize its five graduating seniors leading up to the regular-season home finale against La Salle this Sunday, April 14. Today's senior spotlight will feature attacking standout Francesca Donato, the Atlantic 10's leader in points (71) and assists (program-record 36) in a sensational final season. 

Having played next to her on the offensive end of the field over their four-year careers, senior classmates Rebecca Lane and Hayley Sabol weigh in on what Donato has meant to the team.

"Fran is an absolute POWERHOUSE," said Lane. "You better watch out when she gets the ball, because you absolutely know that when she winds up for that shot, she will put every ounce of strength she has to rip that ball into the back of the net. While we can always count on her to score, find open cutters, and rack up those points, it's the heart and hustle plays that I will always remember when I look back at my time playing with Fran. It’s the ground balls that she battles for and refuses to lose, even when it is just her going up against three players from the other team. It’s the constant hit after hit, leaving her arms black and blue, that she persists through to still find every open teammate in front of goal. It’s the way she gets around every single teammate by being the sturdy tree for every koala hug that comes her way. She is truly one of the best teammates I’ve been able to play with, and I am so happy we have had the chance to play together here on Hawk Hill.”

"Fran is arguably one of the funniest and positive players," added Sabol. "Her tenacity and work ethic is something that everyone should strive to replicate. Fran is constantly making herself and her teammates better in every aspect of the game. Whether she is breaking records in the weight room or reaching milestones on the lacrosse field, Fran is always pushing herself and her teammates to do one more. She is always there for her teammates to give positive advice or if you just need someone to talk to. No matter how early it is, Fran will always come into the locker room screaming, “Yeahhh Hawksss!" Although it's not always welcomed for 6:00 a.m. runs, it is always nice to have such positive energy on this team. Fran has helped change the reputation of SJU lacrosse, and her presence will be truly missed."

Donato's reflections:

1. What is your favorite Saint Joseph’s lacrosse memory?
The California trip sophomore year was one of my favorites. It was a full week spent with my teammates exploring all parts of San Diego and San Francisco. The trip was the perfect balance of lacrosse and adventure. Also, the food was unforgettable - as were the memories.

2. How would you like to be remembered as a member of the Saint Joseph’s lacrosse team?
I want to be remembered as someone who worked hard and pushed my teammates to work their hardest when times got tough. I also want to be remembered as someone who my teammates can come to for anything.

3. What is the biggest life lesson that the Saint Joseph’s lacrosse program has taught you?
The biggest life lesson that SJU women's lacrosse has taught me is that nothing comes easy without hard word and dedication. I've been able to apply that to my academic and athletic life here at St. Joe's, and I believe I'll be able to apply it throughout the rest of my life.

4. What will you miss most about the Saint Joseph's lacrosse program?
All of my teammates (duh). They are the backbone of why my experience here has been so great here on Hawk Hill. As cliché as that may sound, it’s the truth. 

5. Team superlatives:
Best dancer: Bec Lane.
Best-dressed: Penny Green.
Favorite shooting song of a teammate: "7 rings" by Ariana Grande (Bridget Cerciello's.)
Favorite tailgate food: I’m biased, but my mom’s dirt.
Favorite lacrosse drill: FLIP DRILL!!
Favorite coach's quotes: “Ball hunt.” –Assistant coach Colleen Dawson


Thank you, seniors. The Hawk Will Never Die!