PHILADELPHIA – Junior attackman Jason Kelly scored half of the Hawks' goals, but the Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse team ultimately fell to Drexel, 12-8, at Vidas Field on Sunday afternoon. The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Hawks, who fall to 3-4 overall but just 3-1 against opponents outside of the nation's Top 20. The Dragons improve to 2-4.
Leading 6-5 coming out of the halftime break, the Hawks were hit with a pair of offside calls (13:55, 11:34), and the Dragons converted on both of those EMOs (13:42, 11:12) to go ahead, 7-6.
Kelly's fourth of the game and team-leading 14th of the season tied up the scoring with 5:38 to play in the third quarter, but Drexel exploded on a 4-0 run to close the third (4:53, 0:58, 0:24) and open the fourth to own an 11-7 advantage heading into the final 11:54.
Junior attackman Chris Blewitt responded on a feed from senior midfielder Marcus Milione to cut the Hawks' deficit to three goals, 11-8, with 11:15 to play but would not find the back of the net after that.
Drexel's Reid Bowering scored a man-up goal with 48 ticks left on the scoreboard to give the Dragon's their 12th of the day.
Extra-man opportunities played a critical factor in the outcome of the game, as Drexel converted 3-of-4 and Saint Joseph's was held scoreless in five opportunities.
The Hawks wasted no time jumping out to a 4-1 lead by the end of the first quarter. Senior face-off specialist Danny Manning won the game's first possession to set the momentum, and junior midfielder Kyle Cain scored on a feed from senior midfielder Ray Vandegrift just 59 seconds in.
Drexel responded (10:16), but the Hawks closed out the quarter on a 3-0 run over the course of a 1:27 span with goals from junior defenseman Austin Smith (10:04) and Kelly (9:28, 8:37).
Senior goalkeeper T.J. Jones (3-4), who made 12 total saves in the game, made six in the first 15:00 alone.
Drexel scored three unanswered goals to tie up the scoring at 4-4 by the 11:18 mark of the second quarter, but Kelly anwered on a heads-up, rebound play on a save from senior defenseman Connor Kubikowski's shot just 13 seconds later (11:05) and Cain put away his second of the game at the 8:36 mark to put the Hawks ahead, 8-6, before Drexel went off on its 7-1 run.
For the game, Drexel held a 37-33 edge in shots, while the Hawks earned a 34-25 advantage in ground balls. SJU commited 18 turnovers, including 12 in the first three quarters in comparison to Drexel's five.
Manning went 13-of-22 from the X with three ground balls, while Kelly, junior defenseman Brendan McNicholas, and Jones matched a team-high four ground balls apiece. Seniors Charles Giunta and Evan Wolf tallied two ground balls and two caused turnovers each.
Jones made 12 saves in the full 60:00, marking his fifth game of the season in which he has registered double-digit saves.
Saint Joseph's returns to action this Saturday, March 18 at Delaware. Opening face-off at Delaware Stadium in Newark, Del. is slated for 1:00 p.m.
GAME NOTES: With 12 saves, senior goalkeeper T.J. Jones moves into fourth on SJU's all-time list for career saves with 419... Saint Joseph's falls to 1-24 all-time against Drexel, with the lone win coming on April 1, 2000.