RICHMOND, Va. – Prior to the opening whistle of Friday afternoon's regular-season, rain-soaked finale down at Richmond, no player in Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse program history had recorded more than 76 points in one season. That all changed at the 5:39 mark of the first half, when senior attacker Francesca Donato scored her 39th goal of the year to break the program record for single-season points (77) in the Hawks' eventual 21-11 loss to the Spiders at Robins Stadium.
Saint Joseph's closes the Atlantic 10 regular season at 6-3 (10-7 overall), which will earn the Hawks the fourth seed (unofficially) for the upcoming A-10 Championship, to be held down at George Mason next weekend (April 25-28). Richmond improves to 7-2 in league play (14-3 overall) and will take the third seed (unofficially), behind second-seeded George Mason and top-seeded UMass.
Four teams are tied at 3-5 in league play - Duquesne, VCU, La Salle, and George Washington. They are all in the mix to be that fifth seed in SJU's quarterfinal game on Thursday, April 25 at 1:00 p.m.
Sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly led all Hawk scorers with four points on two goals and two helpers while freshman attacker Lauren Figura (2g, 1a), Donato (2g), and junior midfielder Bridget Cerciello (2g) also had multi-goal games for the Crimson and Gray. Cerciello added a game-high 11 draw controls as well as a team-high three ground balls.
Saint Joseph's scored the first goal of the game as Cerciello scored unassisted at the 23:49 mark, but Richmond scored the next six goals en route to an 11-2 run that saw the Spiders go ahead by eight, 11-3, by the 6:27 mark of the first half.
Donato's record-breaking point (1H, 5:39) and freshman midfielder Riley Delaney's fourth goal of the year (1H, 2:54) closed SJU's deficit to six goals, 11-5, entering the halftime break.
After a brief weather delay due to a torrential downpour, the second half started with the Hawks more in control, outscoring the Spiders 5-4 over the opening 15:01 to inch to within five goals, 15-10, heading into the final 14:59 of regulation.
From there, Richmond scored six times and held Saint Joseph's to just one goal in the latter part of the second half - by Kelly (2H, 7:01) - to earn the 21-11 victory.
Starting sophomore goalkeeper Corinne Buttner (6-4, 5-2 A-10) was tagged with the loss with four saves vs. eight goals allowed in the opening 16:25. Freshman Amber Weedon came in to make four saves over the final 43:25.
UNOFFICIAL: Saint Joseph's is expected to play in the first A-10 Championship quarterfinal match-up next Thursday, April 25 at 1:00 p.m. Stay tuned to the Atlantic 10 Conference and SJUHawks.com for the official bracket upon the conclusion of tomorrow's conference finales.