April 17, 2009

St. Joe's Sets Record with Ninth Win

from press release

PHILADELPHIA--The Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse team used a 9-1 run midway through the first half to run away from George Washington, 11-8, on Friday at Finnesey Field. The Hawks set a new single-season record for wins with the team's ninth as well as topping the 14-year-old single season goals record of 167. Helene Tursi led SJU, who moves into a tie for first in the A-10, with four goals and an assist on Senior Day.

George Washington (4-11, 3-3 Atlantic 10) rebounded from an early 1-0 deficit set by Meghan McDevitt, scoring five straight markers during the first 10 minutes for a quick 5-1 lead. McDevitt's goal put SJU past the 1995 squad, who scored 167 goals that season, for most goals in a single season.

Saint Joseph's (9-6, 5-1 Atlantic 10) would not be deterred going on a patented Hawk run of 9-1 over 13:25 to end the half with a 10-6 lead.

Tursi scored back-to-back unassisted goals with 18:37 and 17:57 to go, respectively to cut the initial four-goal deficit in half. She then fed Jessica Westlake just under three minutes later to make it 5-4 in favor of GW. Tursi continued her torrid streak, notching a hat trick with 13:29 remaining in the half to knot things up at five apiece.

The Colonials answered back 25 seconds later with a tally of their own, but it was all Hawks for the rest of the first session. McDevitt and Jenna Martino registered back-to-back unassisted scores with 10:51 left to give Saint Joseph's its first lead, 7-6, since the 29:39 mark.

Abby Renninger dished a beautiful pass to Grace Dinn who put the shot away for her ninth goal of the season to stretch the lead to two with 6:41 remaining.

Tursi's fourth goal of the game and 32nd of the year came off a Jen Peters assist with 6:41 remaining to give the Hawks a 9-6 lead. Martino capped the first half scoring off a Westlake dime to lend SJU its largest lead of the game at 10-6.

After an early GW goal just 1:33 into the second half, the score stood still at 10-7 for the next 19:50 as neither team could find its scoring ways. Martino finally broke through for her third goal of the game and 47th of the year off another Westlake feed for an 11-7 lead. The Colonials would gain one back with 33 seconds to go, but it was too late to mount a serious comeback.

The Hawks dominated much of the game, out-shooting GW, 30-14 and had the advantage in ground balls (22-16). The Colonials earned 11 draw controls to SJU's nine, but the Saint Joseph's defense stood tall as GW made 22 turnovers and was just 13-for-22 on the clear. The Hawks, on the other hand, were 15-for-16 on clearing attempts and had just 15 turnovers.

Suzy Herlihy made four saves in net for her record-breaking ninth win of the season, passing Courtney Huff (2004) for most wins by a goalkeeper in a single season.

Saint Joseph's is now tied for first with Massachusetts, thanks to Duquesne's 15-14 double-overtime victory over UMass. The Hawks have won nine games in a season for the first time ever and increased their already record-setting mark for wins in A-10 play, which is now at five.

The win over the Colonials snapped a five-game losing streak to GW and gave the Hawks a four-game winning streak of their own, the longest of the season.

Friday was Senior Day at Finnesey Field as Meghan Cullinan, Jontell Lyons, Herlihy, Renninger, Tursi and Westlake were honored prior to the game. All started their 15 game of the season as Westlake moved into third place all by herself in all-time games played with 62. Lyons is a game behind with 61, tied for fourth place.

SJU can claim a share of the Hawks' first regular season A-10 Lacrosse Championship on Sunday with a win at Richmond. The opening draw is set for noon in Virginia. Saint Joseph's will return to Philadelphia on Friday April 25 to participate in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship hosted by Temple. Seeding is yet to be determined, but the games will be played at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively.


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