PHILADELPHIA - Senior attacker Nora McCallion recorded a career-high eight points on five goals and three assists and sophomore Rebecca Lane added a hat trick as the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse team topped American, 15-7, in the Hawks' season opener on Saturday afternoon on Sweeney Field.
In her SJU debut, graduate student goalkeeper Liz O'Sullivan made 10 saves as the Hawks held the Eagles scoreless in the second half.
"Our team came ready to play today," said third-year head coach Alex Kahoe. "It was a great way to start the season. Overall, it was a great game. Our team showed a lot of resiliency and really fought together."
American (0-2) jumped out to a 4-2 lead by the 19:41 mark of the first half before a pair of rookies strung together their first collegiate goals to even up the scoring; freshman midfielder Julia Pash scored on a free position goal (16:40) and freshman attacker Hope Anhut scored on a feed from Lane (13:16) to tie the score, 4-4.
The Hawks would never trail from that point.
Lane scored her first goal of the season (12:23) to kick off a 4-1 Hawks run as McCallion (8:36), Lane (7:26) and graduate student midfielder Mallory Grey put SJU ahead by three, 8-5, with 4:55 to play in the first.
American scored twice in the final 2:56, sandwiched between McCallion's fourth of the day, to close the deficit to two, 9-7, heading into the halftime break.
Saint Joseph's scored all six goals of the second half, as senior attacker Sarah Smith (25:44), Pash (19:53), sophomore midfielder Hayley Sabol (17:39), Lane (15:34), McCallion (14:45) and freshman midfielder Penny Green (12:07) peppered the cage.
O'Sullivan (1-0) was outstanding in net, making two first-half saves and stopping all eight shots she faced in the second half to earn her first win as a Hawk.
Adding to the defense was junior midfielder Dana Garbinski, who posted four ground balls and three caused turnovers, both team-high numbers. Junior midfielder Juliana Strazulo added three ground balls in her SJU debut.
For the game, Saint Joseph's held a 33-22 advantage in shots, while American owned slight edges in ground balls (17-16) and draw controls (14-11). The Hawks were strong in clear attempts, going 14-for-16 while forcing American into seven turnovers off of failed clear attempts (13-for-20).
The Hawks were also successful in all three of their free position shots, as Pash, McCallion, and Sabol tucked them away.
Saint Joseph's returns to action this Wednesday, February 22 against Temple. Start time is slated for 3:00 p.m. on Sweeney Field.
GAME NOTES: With her eight-point effort, senior attacker Nora McCallion now ties for sixth in career assists (38), eighth in career goals (90), and ninth in career points (128) at SJU... Freshman midfielder Julia Pash and freshman attacker Hope Anhut started and scored their first collegiate goals in their collegiate debuts... Graduate student goalkeeper Liz O'Sullivan made her SJU debut... Freshman midfielder Penny Green scored her first collegiate goal in her collegiate debut... Freshman midfielders Maria Bio, Bridget Cerciello, and Laura Lasprogata and defenders Caroline Heath and Olivia Tevis made their collegiate debuts... Junior transfer Juliana Strazulo made her SJU and Division I debut... Saint Joseph's is now 18-7 all-time in home openers... The Hawks improve to 3-7 all-time against the Eagles but now own a winning record (2-1) under the direction of third-year head coach Alex Kahoe.
Photos from today's game will be available for purchase at sjuhawksphotos.photoshelter.com.