PHILADELPHIA – Locked in for a spot in the upcoming 2019 Atlantic 10 Championship, the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse squad (10-6, 6-2, A-10) closes the regular season at Richmond (13-3, 6-2 A-10) this Friday, April 19. Opening draw control is set for noon at Robins Stadium.
NOTE: This game was originally set to begin at 4:00 p.m., but the threat of thunderstorms in the area moved the game up.
The Hawks and Spiders are tied for third in the A-10 standings, behind league leader UMass (8-0 A-10) and George Mason (7-1 A-10). Duquesne, VCU, La Salle, and George Washington all sit outside of the top four at 3-5 in league play.
Live streaming ($) of Friday's game will be available in the United States via a subscription to ESPN+, ESPN’s new streaming platform and the new home for a majority of Atlantic 10 Conference live digital events. To sign up, please click here.
The 2019 A-10 Championships will be held at George Mason Stadium in Fairfax, Va. from April 25-28. Following the expansion of the postseason field prior to the start of the 2016 season, six teams will qualify for the 2019 A-10 postseason. The Hawks have reached the semifinals in each of their last three seasons.
Saint Joseph's was predicted to finish third in the regular-season standings this year, as voted on by the league's 10 head coaches and announced on January 30. The Hawks finished third (7-2 A-10) in league standings last spring and made their third consecutive postseason appearance, reaching the semifinals.
Friday's match-up will be a battle on both ends of the field. Defensively, Richmond enters as the league leader in scoring defense, allowing just 9.56 goals per contest behind goalkeeper Megan Gianforte's league-best goals against average (10.02) and defender Julia Ball's league-best numbers in caused turnovers per game (2.75) and ground balls per game (4.06). Second in the league in scoring defense are... the Hawks, allowing just 10.63 goals per game behind a terrific core of defenders in seniors Sinead Brierley and Ally Beck, junior Julia Pash, and redshirt freshman Sarah Platt.
On the offensive side of the ball, senior attacker Francesca Donato leads the A-10 in points (76), points per game (4.75), assists (38), and assists per game (2.38) while sophomore linemate Stephanie Kelly is among the best in the league in those same categories. Richmond's Katie Sciandra forces the opposing goalkeeper to make a play on at least five of her shots per game, with a SOG percentage that ranks second in the league (.569).
The Spiders went 7-1 in non-conference action with a 15-8 win over Campbell, a 19-5 loss to then-#12 UVA, and six consecutive wins over American, 15-7, Liberty, 10-9, William and Mary, 12-9, Old Dominion, 20-5, Presbyterian, 20-2, and Villanova, 14-13 (OT). Richmond then opened A-10 play with a 9-8 overtime loss at George Mason before winning six straight against St. Bonaventure, 19-3, Duquesne, 18-14, George Washington, 15-10, VCU, 14-8, La Salle, 14-13, and Davidson, 18-11. The Spiders are coming off of a 13-12 overtime loss at UMass this past Sunday, where Richmond tied it up with 9:13 to play (Katie Sciandra) to force OT before a player-up goal sealed the deal for UMass.
Marissa Brown (30g, 33a), Sam Geiersbach (38g, 23a), Sciandra (44g, 10a) and Mia Castagnero (36g, 8a) lead Richmond's offense while Julia Ball is the defensive anchor with team-high numbers in ground balls (65), caused turnovers (44), and draw controls (64). Megan Gianforte (13-3, 6-2 A-10) sports a .470 save percentage and 10.02 goals against average in 886:07.
Richmond went 16-4 overall and 8-1 in league play last spring, knocking off Saint Joseph's (19-12) and UMass (12-11 OT) to win the A-10 Championship title before falling to then-#9 Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament, 24-18.
HISTORY OF THE HAWKS/SPIDERS SERIES
Friday’s game will mark the 22nd all-time meeting between Saint Joseph’s and Richmond. The Spiders own a 19-2 all-time series advantage. The Hawks have faced the Spiders four times in the last two seasons: twice during the regular season and twice in the Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals. SJU’s last win over Richmond came in 2016, when then-freshman attacker Rebecca Lane led the way with a hat trick. SJU's other win (11-10) came in 2009, in the A-10 semifinals held at Temple.
ALL THEY DO IS WIN, WIN, WIN
In SJU's 21-6 road victory over Duquesne back on March 24, Saint Joseph's senior class of Ally Beck, Sinead Brierley, Francesca Donato, Rebecca Lane, and Hayley Sabol became the all-time winningest class in program history, with 38 career wins. They now sit at 42... and counting.
Photos from Senior Day are now for sale, here.
RECORDS TO WATCH
With her third point in SJU's 19-7 win over La Salle on Senior Day Sunday last time out, senior attacker Francesca Donato hit 76 points for the season, which ties for SJU's single-season points record; Donato also owns a program-record 38 assists this season, followed closely behind by sophomore linemate Stephanie Kelly, with 32 for third. Senior defender Sinead Brierley's 47 ground balls and 31 caused turnovers this season both rank third in SJU's single-season categories while senior defender Ally Beck has 68 caused turnovers for her career, which ranks second all-time on Hawk Hill.
"ATTACKING" THE POINTS MILESTONE
With her fourth goal (and fifth point) of the game in SJU's 16-8 win over Villanova on March 2, senior attacker Rebecca Lane reached her 200th career point to become only the second Hawk in program history to reach the 200-point mark, joining Shannon Feite '97 (243). Senior attacker Francesca Donato (at then-#17 Johns Hopkins on March 6), senior attacker Hayley Sabol (vs. George Washington on April 5), and sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly (vs. Davidson on April 7) all reached their 100th career points this spring.
In her second season as a team captain, senior attacker Rebecca Lane has had a standout career for the Crimson and Gray. Through 58 career games played, she owns 209 points (second all-time at SJU), 125 goals (fifth all-time), and 84 assists (first all-time). She totaled at least 58 points in each of her first three seasons - going for 36g and 22a as a rookie back in 2016 (A-10 Rookie of the Year), 35g and 31a as a sophomore in 2017 (A-10 Second Team), and 36g and 25a last spring (A-10 First Team).
Taylor Newman-Farr is from a military family with military aspirations of her own. From excelling in her JROTC program at South Lakes High School to working toward becoming a nurse in the Air Force, SJU's starting sophomore midfielder has her eyes set on taking the world by storm. Read the full feature here: tinyurl.com/GoingFarr22.
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