Saint Joseph's Heats Up in Second Half to Down Wagner

PHILADELPHIA Fueled by a second-half 7-0 run, Saint Joseph's downed Wagner, 10-4, for its third win of the season on Saturday afternoon at Finnesey Field. With the victory, the Hawks remain undefeated all-time against the Seahawks, improving their program record to a perfect 12-0.

"I'm really proud of the guys for how they stepped up in the second half," said Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse head coach Taylor Wray. "Wagner had a very good game plan, and their goalie was making a ton of saves. We did a little bit of a better job of shooting in the second half and that was when we were able to get some separation."

Trailing 4-3 early into the third period, the Hawks' attack took off on a 7-0 run that would stretch for the remainder of the game. Sophomore Michael Dougherty (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep) scored three consecutive goals during the run while the Hawks also got two goals from classmate Matthew Sarcona (Northport, N.Y./Northport) and one apiece from senior Kyle Williams (Marriottsville, Md./Marriotts Ridge) and freshman Pat Swanick (Haverford, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep).

Saint Joseph's (3-2) struck first to start the game as Swanick scored his sixth career goal just under two minutes into the first period. Wagner netted a goal of its own to equalize the score at one apiece, but Williams and Swanick hit back-to-back goals with under two minutes remaining in the first period to put the Hawks up 3-1 heading into the second period.

Wagner (0-4) held the Hawks scoreless in the second period as the Seahawks went on a 3-0 run to pull ahead, 4-3, before Saint Joseph's kept them scoreless for the entire second half.

Swanick and Dougherty recorded three goals each for the Hawks while Sarcona and Williams were good for two apiece. Dougherty and junior midfielder Johnny Simanski (Reisterstown, Md./Loyola Blakefield) registered two assists each.

Junior Will Abbott (Chevy Chase, Md./Bullis School) posted a brilliant performance on the defensive end, picking up six ground balls and going 11 of 17 (.647) from the faceoff. Sophomore Will Farrell (Jamison, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) also picked up six ground balls and caused a game-high two turnovers.

Sophomore goalkeeper Dustin Keen (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) improves to 3-2 on the year after making nine saves and allowing just four goals in a full 60-minute effort.

The Hawks outshot the Seahawks, 52-19, and held a 29-15 advantage in ground balls while forcing Wagner to turn the ball over 12 times.

Wagner got a season-high 22 saves from Nicholas Gibaldi.

Saint Joseph's will remain home to host Mercer this Wednesday, March 6. Game time is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at Finnesey Field. The Hawks are 1-0 all-time against the Bears having defeated them 14-9 in their inaugural meeting on April 21, 2012.

* * * *

Philadelphia, PA Wagner overcame an early 3-1 deficit by scoring three straight goals to enter halftime on top by the count of 4-3, but Saint Joseph's was able to wear the Seahawks down in the second half in posting a hard-fought 10-4 victory.

In dropping this physical, defensive-minded battle, the Seahawks fall to 0-4 on the season while Saint Joseph's, which plays out of the rugged Atlantic 10 Conference, improves to 3-2.

Sophomore midfielder Cory Santor (Glastonbury, CT/ Glastonbury) put Wagner on the board and tied the game at 1-1 with 3:40 left in the first quarter off a feed from senior midfielder Colin O'Rourke (Worcester, MA/ St. John's Shrewsbury). The Hawks then countered with goals by Kyle Williams and Pat Swanick, at 1:35 and 0:30 of the first quarter, respectively, to take a 3-1 lead into the second quarter, a 15 minutes of play that was arguably Wagner's finest of the season.

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