PHILADELPHIA – The Hawks will look to bounce back at home this weekend as the Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse squad (6-6, 2-2 NEC) hosts Wagner (2-10, 0-4 NEC) in a critical Northeast Conference match-up this Saturday, April 20. Opening face-off for the Hawks' regular-season home finale is set for 1:00 p.m. on Sweeney Field. 

The Hawks tie for fourth, with Robert Morris (2-2 NEC), in league standings behind Mount St. Mary's (4-0 NEC), Hobart (3-1 NEC), and Sacred Heart (3-2 NEC). Bryant (1-4 NEC) and Wagner (0-4 NEC) sit sixth and seventh. The four-team 2019 NEC Championship runs on Thursday, May 2 and Saturday, May 4 at the site of the regular-season champion.

(T-4) Robert Morris at (6) Bryant (Noon)
(2) Hobart at (1) Mount St. Mary's (Noon)
(7) Wagner at (T-4) Saint Joseph's (1:00 p.m.)
(3) Sacred Heart - Bye Week

“As is always the case, we will need to take care of business in our own league if we hope to have the opportunity to compete in the postseason,” said eighth-year head coach Taylor Wray back on December 11. “The NEC has really improved overall over these last few seasons, and I believe this will be the most challenging year yet. We are going to have our work cut out for us, and I know my team will be excited for the challenge.”

The Hawks are 27-7 all-time in NEC regular-season games in their sixth season in the league. Returning All-Conference selections from a year ago include sophomore goalkeeper Mike Adler (Second Team, Rookie Team), sophomore midfielder Nick Vernacchio (Rookie Team), and sophomore attackman Shane Fable (Rookie Team).

Prior to the start of Saturday's game, the Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse program will honor seniors Zach Hare, Thomas LaRose, and Thomas Tarleton in a Senior Day ceremony. With 34 wins as a class, this group will leave Hawk Hill as the fourth-highest winningest class in program history; the Hawks won 12 games in 2016, five games in 2017, 11 games in 2018, and six games heading into Saturday's match-up against Wagner. 

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 four-year 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.

Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Adler (16-10 career, 6-6 this season) owns 142 saves through 12 games this season for an average of 11.83 stops per contest. Adler has made double-digit saves 10 times this spring, including a career-high 20 stops against then-#20 Hobart. The sophomore sits eighth in career saves on Hawk Hill with 309, directly behind Nick Leopard '02 (318). He owns that number through just 26 games played and 1,535 minutes for an average of 11.89 saves per game and one save every 4.97 minutes of his career.

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 35 points on a team-high 17 goals and team-high 18 assists. Patterson scored the late equalizer and assisted on the OT game-winning goal against then-#20 Hobart on April 6.

Freshman attackman Ryan Doran has done a little bit of everything in his first collegiate season. The rookie ranks second on the squad in goals (15), assists (10), and points (25) and sits third in ground balls (28), as the versatile freshman sits only behind freshman face-off specialist Zach Cole (84) and junior close defenseman Tyler Makar (29) in the category.

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). After going 17-for-26 against then-#20 Hobart on April 6 and 18-for-24 against Sacred Heart on April 13, Cole sits at 62.6 percent (144-for-230) through 11 games as SJU's primary face-off specialist.

After leading the Crimson and Gray to a 12-11 overtime victory over then-#20 Hobart on April 6, a trio of Hawks swept the Northeast Conference's weekly awards. Sophomore attackman Nate Patterson was selected the NEC's Player of the Week for the first time of his collegiate career while sophomore goalkeeper Mike Adler earns his third career Defensive Player of the Week nod. Additionally, freshman face-off specialist Zach Cole was recognized as the Rookie of the Week for the second time this spring.

Patterson turned in a game-high four points (2g, 2a) against the Statesmen, and two of those points came in crunch time. With six-tenths of a second remaining in regulation, Patterson scored the equalizer to force the game into overtime. He then assisted on the overtime game winner just 47 seconds into extra time, scored by linemate Matt Tufano. Adler made a career-high 20 saves on the day, including nine in the second quarter alone and four in the fourth, while Cole was extremely strong at the X, going 17-for-26 with 11 ground balls.

After opening their 2019 season with a 7-6 road win over Bellarmine, the Seahawks dropped seven in a row with losses to Manhattan, 11-10, Lafayette, 13-10, Monmouth, 9-7, Dartmouth, 11-4, VMI, 15-10, Quinnipiac, 7-6, and Hobart, 13-7. Wagner then picked up its second win of the season with a 14-11 road victory over NJIT on March 23 before dropping its next three, to Bryant, 13-4, Robert Morris, 17-6, and, most recently, Mount St. Mary's, 12-8, last Saturday.

Spencer Kaufman (17g, 5a), Stephen Dwyer (12g, 10a), and Dominic Branda (16g, 5a) own 20 or more points for the Seahawks while primary face-off specialist Nick Warren averages a 46.4 showing (123-for-265) from the X to go with a team-high 54 ground balls. Of three utilized goalkeepers, Matt Sefcik (2-10, 0-4 NEC) is the only one with a record and sports a .542 save percentage and 11.35 goals against average in 687:14 in all 12 starts.

Wagner went 4-10 overall and 0-6 in the NEC last spring; the last time the Seahawks won a conference game was on April 15 of 2017, against Mount St. Mary's.

Saturday’s game will mark the 19th all-time meeting between Saint Joseph’s and Wagner, and the Hawks have won all 18 games. The teams have played each other every season since 2000 with the exception of 2011. Last season in Staten Island, N.Y., the Hawks broke an early 2-2 tie with six consecutive goals that spanned from late in the first quarter into the early third and never looked back as seven Hawks put away goals in the victory.

All-time series results:
2018 - W - 12-7- Away
2017 - W - 14-5 - Home
2016 - W - 15-6 - Away
2015 - W - 14-3 - Home
2014 - W - 12-8 - Away
2013 - W - 10-4 - Home
2012 - W - 6-5 - Away
2010 - W - 9-8 - Away
2009 - W - 14-6 - Home
2008 - W - 9-4 - Away
2007 - W - 11-3 - Home
2006 - W - 11-3 - Away
2005 - W - 16-8 - Home
2004 - W - 10-7 - Away
2003 - W - 9-7 - Home
2002 - W - 14-2 - Home
2001 - W - 18-4 - Away
2000 - W - 23-2 – Home

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