PHILADELPHIA – The Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse team (3-3) kicks off its second three-game road stretch of the season across the city at Drexel (1-4) this Sunday, March 12. Opening face-off at Vidas Field is slated for 1:00 p.m.
Sunday’s game will mark the 24th all-time meeting between Saint Joseph’s and Drexel. The Dragons own a 23-1 all-time series advantage over the Hawks, with SJU’s lone win coming in the form of a 10-9 victory on April 1, 2000. The Crimson and Gray fell by just one goal in a 10-9 heartbreaker last season, as the Dragon’s game-winner came as time expired. The Hawks and Dragons have played every year since SJU began its program in 1993.
In SJU's last three games, senior face-off specialist Danny Manning has gone 37-for-48 from the X, winning 77 percent of his possession opportunities for the Hawks. Manning will go up against a Drexel face-off unit that sits at a 36.6%.
After opening the season with a trio of losses to then-nationally-ranked teams, the Hawks are 3-0 against unranked opponents with road wins over St. John's and Manhattan and, most recently, a 6-5 overtime win over Monmouth on Friday evening. Senior midfielder Ray Vandegrift scored the game-winner, Manning went 13-of-15 from the X, and senior goalkeeper T.J. Jones made 14 saves to keep his opposition to just five goals for the third game in a row.
Junior attackman Chris Blewitt (11g, 4a), junior attackman Jason Kelly (10g, 4a), and senior midfielder Kevin Reidinger (12g, 1a) lead the Hawks in scoring while junior midfielder Hayes McGinley has dished out a team-high five assists.
Manning owns a 59.5 percent winning percentage from the X (50-for-84) while junior Austin Smith's 22 ground balls are a team-best. Senior Connor Kubikowski has gone for 15 ground balls and a team-best six caused turnovers while Jones (3-3) sports a .550 saves percentage and 9.57 goals against average in 338:31.
Blewitt and Kelly have started all six games up top, while SJU's starting midfield unit has been the same with Reidinger, McGinley, and junior Kyle Cain. Senior defenseman Charles Giunta has made all six starts on the back line alongside Jones.
Drexel is 1-4 after losses to then-#7 UVA, 14-18, then-#12 Albany, 19-8, Villanova, 15-13, and Marist, 11-7, and, most recently, a 7-5 win over Bryant on Friday evening; the Dragons scored the first five goals of the game against the Bulldogs en route to their first victory of the season. Cole Shafer (13g, 1a), Robert Frazee (9g, 3a) and Reid Bowering (7g, 3a) lead the Dragons in scoring while goalkeeper Jimmy Joe Granito (1-4) sports a .424 save percentage and 13.60 goals against average in all 300:00.
SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Saint Joseph's senior goalkeeper T.J. Jones and senior defensemen Charles Giunta and Shane Taggert have been selected as candidates for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate men's lacrosse, it was announced on Thursday afternoon. Twenty of the top NCAA men’s lacrosse student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as candidates, and Saint Joseph's leads all NCAA Division I men's lacrosse programs with three candidates selected. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Read more here.