FAIRFAX, Va. - The Minutewomen scored 12 times in the second half to hand the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse squad a 20-11 loss in the 2019 Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals at George Mason Stadium on Friday afternoon. With the loss, the Hawks close the season at 11-8 overall.
Sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly (2g, 1a), senior attacker Francesca Donato (2g), and freshman attacker Lauren Figura (2g) added multi-goal performances while sophomore Taylor Newman-Farr (4gb, 3ct) and juniors Bridget Cerciello (4dc) and Penny Green (3gb) scrapped from the midfield and freshman defender Lindsey Smith earned six draw controls.
Saint Joseph’s initiated the scoring as Figura scored on a feed from Kelly just 95 seconds in, but SJU’s only lead of the game dissipated with three consecutive UMass goals (27:24, 25:01, 24:31).
Sabol then caught fire and factored into SJU’s next three scoring plays (1g, 2a) to inch the Hawks to within one, 5-4, with 8:57 to play in the first.
UMass scored again at the 6:01 mark and, on that play, Atlantic 10 First Team defender Sinead Brierley, a backbone of the Hawks’ defensive unit this spring, was hit with her second yellow to be forced out of the game.
Seconds later, the rain that had been drizzling lightly for spurts throughout the first half came down in sheets, and the game was suspended for the next two hours due to lightning.
Play resumed to see UMass score back-to-back goals (4:49, 2:19) before Donato closed out the half with her second goal of the day with 32 ticks before the halftime break, where UMass led 8-5.
The Minutewomen would then score on 12 of 14 second-half shots on goal and hold the Hawks to six scores after the halftime intermission for the win.
The leadership from Saint Joseph’s senior class was on full display from the opening whistle to the final horn. Donato, Sabol, and senior defender Ally Beck (3gb) paced the Hawks on the field while Brierley and senior attacker Rebecca Lane stepped up to instruct from the sideline.
That group leaves SJU as the winningest class in program history, with 43 victories, and the first class to reach four consecutive conference postseason tournaments.
“This is obviously not the ending we hoped for, but I am so proud of this team and what they have accomplished this season,” said fifth-year head coach Alex Kahoe following the game. “I want to thank the seniors for everything they have given to the program. They are a very impressive class, and they have been a huge part of taking this program to where it is today. They have left a legacy that will continue to propel this team forward.”