Saint Joseph's Downs Niagara in Non-Conference Play

PHILADELPHIA - Saint Joseph's kicked off its season with a dominating 13-5 win over Niagara on Sunday afternoon at Finnesey Field. With the victory, the Hawks pick up their first opening-day win since defeating Lafayette on February 20, 2010.

Saint Joseph's (1-0) got things started right off the bat as graduate student attack Meghan McDevitt (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) scored her first of four goals at the 28:39 mark of the first half.

Niagara (0-2) would answer back with a goal, but the Hawks would go on a 4-0 run with contributions from freshman attack Bianca Angstadt (Wyomissing, Pa/Berks Catholic), McDevitt, and sophomore midfield and attack duo Julia Falcone (West Chester, Pa./West Chester East) and Hallie Pickard (Short Hills, N.J./Millburn) to jump ahead 5-1 with 17:35 remaining in the half.

The Purple Eagles would strike twice in a row before junior midfielder Val Paolucci (Swarthmore, Pa./Springfield) registered her first of three goals at the 7:51 mark to extend the Hawk lead, 6-3. Niagara tacked on one more goal at the 6:53 mark to close its deficit to two as SJU held a 6-4 lead into halftime.

Defense was the name of the game for the Hawks in the second half. While McDevitt and Paolucci combined for four of the Hawks' seven second-half goals, freshman goalkeeper Genevieve Giblin (Rockville, Md./Georgetown Visitation Prep (D.C.)) made her collegiate debut a big one. The rookie standout made three crucial saves while only allowing one goal in 30 minutes of action.

McDevitt led all scorers with four goals and two assists and now stands just one dish away (currently 37) from a tie for fourth place in SJU's record book for all-time career assists. Paolucci was good for three goals and a dish in the win while Falcone added two goals. Defensively, junior midfielder Meghan Watkin (West Chester, Pa./West Chester Bayard-Rustin) picked up a team-high four ground balls and junior defender Kaitlyn McSwiggan (Allendale, N.J./Immaculate Heart Academy) caused a game-high three turnovers.

Senior goalkeeper Alisha Aquilino (Abington, Pa./Abington) (1-0) picked up her first win of the season with two first-half saves in 30 minutes of action.

"I'm so proud with how they kept it together for the entire game," said head coach Denise Roessler. "Even when the score was 6-4, they kept their focus and they put the pedal to the medal. They still were aggressive to every ball and they communicated and worked well as a team today. It was definitely a team win so I'm proud of them."

Niagara saw five different players score goals while Brittany Delano tied a game-high four ground balls.

Saint Joseph's outshot Niagara, 21-13, and held a 22-15 advantage in ground balls.

The Hawks will travel to Staten Island, N.Y. to compete against Wagner next Sunday, February 24. Game time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Wagner College Stadium.

* * * *

PHILADELPHIA - Niagara hung tough, but dropped a non-conference game to Saint Joseph's by a 13-5 score on Sunday afternoon at Finnesey Field.

"Our defensive effort today was much improved, and we put together more moments of consistently good play," head coach Wendy Stone said. "Overall we made some strides forward today, but need to continue to work on our stickwork and ability to possess the ball. We will work to be better next time out."

In the opening five minutes of play, SJU (1-0-0) and Niagara (0-2-0) traded goals, with Kayla Smith tallying the first Purple Eagle goal. A goal from Bianca Angstadt would spur a 4-0 run for St. Joseph's to put the Purps down 5-1 at the 17 minute mark of the opening half.

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