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Men’s lacrosse: @SJUHawks_MLax rallies to defeat Hobart, 7-6, to clinch regular-season title

Saturday, 18th April 2015

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 4/18/15
From Press Release

Freshman attack Chris Blewitt (Lincoln Park, N.J./Bergen Catholic) scored a behind-the-back game-winner with 1:58 remaining in overtime as the Saint Joseph’s men’s lacrosse team took down Hobart, 7-6, on Saturday afternoon on Sweeney Field.

The Hawks trailed 6-3 heading into the final 8:27 of regulation but fired off the final four goals of the game to earn their fifth NEC win of the season.

With the victory, Saint Joseph’s has earned the right to host the 2015 Northeast Conference Championships on Sweeney Field, scheduled for Thursday, April 30 through Saturday, May 2. This will mark the second consecutive season in which the Hawks will host NECs.

The win also gives the Hawks at least a share of the 2015 NEC regular-season title. A victory at Sacred Heart next Saturday would give Saint Joseph’s the regular-season title outright, and it would be SJU’s second in as many years in the conference.

Blewitt’s 14th goal of the season came on a feed from sophomore attack Mike Rastivo who had scored the equalizer for the Hawks with 38 seconds remaining in regulation to force the game into overtime.

The game-winning play was sparked by sophomore midfielder Mike Lanham’s (Garnet Valley) 12th face-off win of the game to start the overtime period. Sophomore midfielder Anthony Joaquim scooped up the ground ball off of the face-off to gain possession for the Crimson and Gray and would bring the ball into SJU’s attacking third.

The Hawks would fire off a pair of shots within a six-second span, but Hobart goalkeeper Jackson Brown made a save on Saint Joseph’s redshirt junior midfielder Kevin Forster’s (La Salle College High) shot on net at the 2:50 mark to bring possession back to the Statesmen.

However, the Hawks put pressure on Hobart’s defensive unit and caused the Hobart turnover on the failed clear to earn possession back with 2:38 to play.

After hitting the post right out of an SJU timeout, Blewitt made the most of his second overtime opportunity, burying a brilliant behind-the-back shot into the back of the net for the win.

The game saw three total goals in the first half; Saint Joseph’s sophomore midfielder Ray Vandegrift (William Penn Charter) the game’s first goal on an unassisted score with 4:26 to play in the first before Hobart scored back-to-back (11:54, 1:49) goals in the second to pull ahead, 2-1, after the first 30:00.

Saint Joseph’s junior attack Pat Swanick (St. Joseph’s Prep) would score on a feed from Forster just 2:56 into the third period to even up the scoring, 2-2, but Hobart tore off on a 3-0 run that spanned 3:17 to jump out to a three-goal lead, 5-2, entering the fourth period.

SJU graduate student attack Ryan McGee (White Plains, N.Y./White Plains) netted his 27th goal of the year on an assist from Joaquim to close the home squad’s deficit to two, 5-3, with 10:45 to play in regulation. However, Hobart’s Taylor Vanderbeek would respond with the Statesmen’s sixth goal of the day as Hobart owned a 6-3 advantage entering the final 8:27.

From there, it would be all about the Hawks.

McGee, on a dish from Forster, scored with 7:47 to play and Forster netted an unassisted tally at the 5:35 mark to bring the Hawks to within one, 6-5.

Rastivo’s goal with 38 seconds to play would force overtime to lead to Blewitt’s late-game heroics.

Led by McGee’s 14 shots, the Hawks took a season-high 57 shots, 29 on goal, in comparison to Hobart’s 25 total shots.

Saint Joseph’s also owned advantages in ground balls (35-17) and turned the ball over just six times – a season-low for the Crimson and Gray.

Blewitt and McGee scooped up a team-best four ground balls apiece, while senior defenseman Will Farrell (St. Joseph’s Prep) added three ground balls and two caused turnovers in a brilliant defensive effort.

Lanham was dominant from the face-off X, winning 12-of-17 opportunities, including the most crucial possession of the game to start the overtime period.

Sophomore goalkeeper T.J. Jones (7-3, 5-0 NEC) made nine saves and allowed just six goals in a full 62:02 effort. Jones made seven of those nine saves in the first half, including five in the first 15:00.

Saint Joseph’s returns to action at Sacred Heart next Saturday, April 25. Opening face-off at Campus Field in Fairfield, Connecticut is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. A win against the Pioneers would clinch the 2015 NEC regular-season title.



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