PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse team defeated Richmond, 7-4, on Saturday afternoon on Sweeney Field. With the win, the Hawks extend their win streak to four games and improve to 5-2 overall.
The last time the program won four consecutive games in the same season was in 2007. SJU's 5-2 overall record is the program's most successful record through seven games since the 2000 team posted a record of 6-1 through its first seven games. Additionally, the Hawks sport a 4-0 record for games played through March; the last time SJU went 4-0 through the month of March was 14 years ago when the 2000 team won its first six games of the season, all in March, en route to a 6-2 record through eight games played in March.
"I think we played great," said junior goalkeeper Dustin Keen, who made three saves in the final minutes of regulation to seal SJU's fourth consecutive win. "There was a lot of mistakes throughout the game, but I think that we came up and made some clutch plays when we needed to... Our offense shot the ball well but the goalie on Richmond made a bunch of clutch saves. I think our defense really eliminated the amount of shots that I saw, which helped me a lot because I wasn't seeing the ball so well in the first quarter. I'm just happy that I came up and made some clutch saves at the end to get the win."
Trailing 3-0 with 5:28 remaining in the first period, Saint Joseph's senior midfielder Johnny Simanski sparked a six-goal run that spanned 42:39 to give the Hawks a 6-3 advantage with just under eight minutes to play in regulation. Simanski and freshman attackman Ray Vandegrift tallied two goals apiece during that run while freshman attackman Michael Rastivo and junior midfielder Mike Dougherty added one goal and one assist apiece during SJU's scoring streak.
With his two-point effort, Dougherty has now recorded at least one point in 10 consecutive games dating back to April 20 of last season.
Richmond (1-6) retaliated with a goal at the 7:49 mark of the fourth period to pull to within two goals, 6-4, but Saint Joseph's redshirt junior attackman Ryan McGee scored with 16 seconds remaining in regulation to secure the victory, 7-4, for the Crimson and Gray.
For the game, Saint Joseph's owned advantages in shots (40-25) and ground balls (27-19) and forced Richmond to turn the ball over 15 times, including five from failed clear attempts. The Hawks also dominated from the face-off, winning 12 of 15 total opportunities on the day and going 6-of-6 from the X in the second and third periods combined. Freshman midfielder Mike Lanham went a near-perfect 10-of-11 from the face-off and picked up a game-high seven ground balls on the day.
In his second appearance back from injury, Rastivo boasted a team-best three points on one goal and two assists while Vandegrift (2G) and Simanski (2G) posted multi-goal efforts. McGee (1G) took 10 of SJU's 40 total shots, landing seven on goal, and has now recorded at least one goal in each of SJU's seven games this season. Sophomore defenseman Kevin Barrow caused a team-high three turnovers.
Keen (4-1) made seven saves in a full-game effort, including three in the final 3:14 of regulation to lock down the win for the Hawks.
Richmond's J.P. Forester led the Spiders in scoring with two goals while goalkeeper Benny Pugh made 17 saves in a full 60:00.
Saint Joseph's returns to action at Michigan next Saturday, March 22. Opening face-off at Michigan Stadium is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.