PHILADELPHIA – Under the direction of fourth-year head coach Alex Kahoe, the Saint Joseph’s women’s lacrosse team will begin official preparation for the 2018 spring season on Saturday, January 20. Saint Joseph’s returns 24 Hawks from a squad that is coming off of a program-record, 11-win season, which was capped by a run at the 2017 Atlantic 10 Championship Tournament, and has added 12 true freshmen and a sophomore transfer to the roster in preparation of the 2018 campaign.

"It's great to be back with our team today," said Kahoe during time on the field on Friday. "It's a beautiful day, and the team came out with great energy and ready to go and to prepare as we head into our preseason and our first game."

Junior attacker Rebecca Lane, a 2017 Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team pick and the 2016 A-10 Rookie of the Year, is SJU's top returning scorer and will captain the Hawks' offensive unit.

"We have a lot of new freshmen on the attacking end and we're really excited to work on those new connections," said Lane. "We're really looking to be aggressive this year, really go hard to cage, defend really hard, get a lot of turnovers, and have a successful year. We're just really excited to be back."

SJU's defensive unit will be anchored by senior captains Kristen Kelbon, a 2017 All-Conference First Team defender, and Catie Vivian.

"For the defense this year, we have a lot of senior leadership that we're really excited about," said Kelbon. "We're very physical, aggressive, and fast. We have Liz [O'Sullivan] coming back as well, so it's going to be a really good year for us."

"Personally, it's awesome to be back on the field," added Vivian, who missed last season due to injury. "I missed so much last season, so it's amazing to be back with all of my teammates, running around on the field. It's a beautiful day out here, so it's been great. We're all coming back in great shape, and we're super energetic, physical, and ready for the season starting."

The Hawks’ 17-game, regular-season schedule features nine home contests to be played on Sweeney Field, including the home opener against Central Connecticut on Saturday, February 17, set for 3:00 p.m. Saint Joseph's will embark on its 20th year in the A-10 this spring, opening league action at home against nine-time defending A-10 champion Massachusetts on Thursday, March 29.

Freshman Stephanie Kelly, one of 13 newcomers who will don the Crimson and Gray this year, shared her excitement for her first collegiate season.

"Collegiate lacrosse is a completely different game in America," said Kelly, who hails from Melbourne, Australia. "It's so great to be out here. All of the girls have been amazing. The freshmen are like my sisters now and everyone else is like my family. Everyone has just been amazing in welcoming me into the team."

The start of the 2018 season is just over three weeks away, as the Hawks are set to open the spring at Georgetown on Saturday, February 10.