Saint Joseph's Defense Holds Strong in Win over UMass

PHILADELPHIA - Leading 7-5 heading into the fourth period, a rock-solid defensive effort held the Minutemen to just one goal in the final 15:00 to send Saint Joseph's past Massachusetts, 7-6, in CAA) action on Saturday afternoon at Finnesey Field. With the victory, the Hawks pick up their first league win of the season to stand at 4-6 overall and 1-2 in the CAA.

"To beat a team as good as UMass is pretty incredible for us," said Saint Joseph's men's lacrosse head coach Taylor Wray.

"Our players deserve all the credit. They beat a great team; UMass is a great team, but we did the things we needed to do. We made saves, we picked up ground balls, we scrapped all over the field, and we finished our opportunities. Coming off of a mid-week loss in the fashion that we lost at Drexel, it's a credit to the character in our locker room that they can bounce back, come out here and perform the way they did today."

Tied 4-4 heading into the second half, Massachusetts (5-5, 0-2 CAA) took the lead on a goal from Will Manny just 2:52 in the third period to give the Minutemen their fifth lead of the game.

Each team would be held scoreless over the next 7:51 before the Hawks exploded for a game-changing 3-0 run that spanned the rest of the period give SJU a 7-5 advantage, its biggest lead of the game. Freshman attack Pat Swanick (Haverford, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) the scoring started with a brilliant offensive move as he made a sharp turn around the left side of the cage and put the ball into the lower-left corner to tie the game at five all (4:17).

Junior midfielder Johnny Simanski (Reisterstown, Md./Loyola Blakefield was a key part of the next two goals as he dished out assists to senior attack Kyle Williams (Marriottsville, Md./Marriotts Ridge) and sophomore midfielder Michael Dougherty (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep) (1:46, 0:02) to send the Hawks into the final period with the 7-5 lead.

Massachusetts tallied its sixth goal of the game at the 8:42 mark of the fourth. However, junior midfielder Will Abbott (Chevy Chase, Md./Bullis School) won a crucial face-off to hand the Hawks their next possession. After senior midfielder Steve Dunn (West Chester, Pa./Malvern Prep) turned the ball over, he stripped a Minuteman on the next play to regain possession for the Hawks through the next 2:04.

"The guys are going to make mistakes," said Wray. "You have to live with the mistakes. It's all about what you do with the next play. Steve turned it over when he threw the ball away in the clear, but then he stripped the guy two seconds later on defense and we got the ball back. It's the way that the games go, and Steve had a heck of a game." =

Sophomore goalkeeper Dustin Keen (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) made two tremendous saves in the final three minutes (2:45, 1:20). After the second save, UMass gained possession with a ground ball, but its clear attempt would fail as senior captain Kyle Mahoney (Summit, N.J./Summit) forced a Minuteman turnover with :40 remaining in regulation. SJU would hold onto the possession as time expired.

UMass scored the first goal of the game (9:44) before Dougherty and freshman Richard Gabelman (Gambrills, Md./Archbishop Spalding) registered goals (9:02, 1:34) to put the Hawks up 2-1. The Minutemen netted two goals in the final minute (0:43, 0:08) to take a 3-2 into the second period. The Hawks put up a pair of goals sandwiched between a Massachusetts tally to tie the game, four apiece.

Dougherty led the Hawks with two goals and caused four turnovers on the defensive end while Simanski recorded one goal in addition to his two assists. Dunn picked up a team-high four ground balls and caused two turnovers.

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