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College preview: @SJUHawks_WLAX looks to improve in 2016

Tuesday, 16th February 2016

Categories College, Girl's/Women's, Posted 2/15/16
From Press Release

The Saint Joseph’s women’s lacrosse team will open the 2016 season at American University in Washington, D.C. this Saturday, February 20 at 1:00 p.m. The Hawks will play their first home game of the season on Wednesday, February 24, the first of nine home games to be played on Sweeney Field this spring.

Nora McCallion

Nora McCallion

Under the direction of second-year head coach Agnes Irwin grad Alex Kahoe, Saint Joseph’s returns 18 Hawks, including nine starters, and welcomes eight newcomers for the 2016 season. Senior midfielder Mallory Grey and junior attacker Nora McCallion were selected captains for the 2016 season.

“We are looking forward to building off of the success of last season while continuing to make improvements every day,” said Kahoe. “The team is really excited about this year and is working very hard. The returners have a very committed mentality, and the freshmen bring a new energy and intensity to practice. Putting this together helps push the competitive nature of our team, which will help everyone moving forward.”

The Hawks will embark on their 17th year in the Atlantic 10 Conference this spring, opening league action at home against Massachusetts on Friday, April 1 on Sweeney Field. Saint Joseph’s will see a five-home, four-road game schedule for conference play. The Hawks were voted eighth in the A-10 preseason poll, the league office announced on February 4.

The Hawks return two of last season’s three leading scorers, who combined for 40 goals and 18 assists, in juniors Sarah Smith (24g, 10a) and Nora McCallion (Academy of Notre Dame, 16g, 8a). This veteran duo will be expected to lead the Crimson and Gray on the offensive end of the field this spring.

Turning in back-to-back seasons of 15+ goals and 20+ points, McCallion enters her third year as a starting attacker this season. She turned in a trio of hat tricks last season, including in wins over American and Monmouth, and posted a career-high six-point effort (2g, career-high 4a) in SJU’s win over Longwood.

“Nora has the ability to quarterback our offense this year,” said Kahoe of her junior co-captain. “She has a great lacrosse IQ and excellent field vision.”

Smith was one of four Hawks – and the only non-defensive player – to make all 16 starts last season en route to leading the squad in assists (10) and free position goals (6) and ranking second in points, goals, shots (58) and shots on goal (47). She scored in the first nine consecutive games of the season and posted a career-high seven-point effort (career-high 5g, 2a) in a win at Monmouth. As a result of a committed work ethic, Smith averaged 3.6 points per game and 3.0 goals per game in SJU’s five wins last year. The junior will be expected to be a scoring threat once again this season.

SJU’s only senior attacker, Bianca Angstadt turned in back-to-back 10+ point seasons over her freshman and sophomore campaigns and has made her way back into the rotation after coming off of an injury that sidelined her for all of last season.

Redshirt freshman and 2014 High School All-American Morgan Lamey and freshman Francesca Donato (Neshaminy), a three-time All-Suburban One Conference First Team selection, will add to the attack.

With her outstanding speed and raw talent, senior Mallory Grey transitioned from the back line to the midfield unit this offseason and will be called upon to lead the Hawks this spring. One of four Hawks to make all 16 starts last season, Grey ranked second on the squad in draw controls (33) and tied for third in caused turnovers (17) but will be utilized on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field in 2016.

“With her speed, we need her in the midfield to be a two-way, dynamic player,” said Kahoe. “She has been more confident on the offensive end of the field and has been playing really well with the attack. We are looking forward to her stepping up this year on both ends of the field.”

An exciting addition to SJU’s midfield comes in the form of rookie Rebecca Lane, out of Victoria, Australia (Maribyrnong College). This past summer, Lane co-captained the 2015 U-19 Australian National Team at the World Championships, where she recorded 24 points (13g, 11a) and 20 draw controls through seven games en route to being named to the All-World Team.

“With Bec playing in two U-19 world cups, she has the experience we are looking for to take us to the next level,” said Kahoe. “Her dynamic play will make an impact both offensively and defensively in the 2016 season.”

Junior Maggie Egan was outstanding on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field last season, ranking in SJU’s top four in points (22), goals (15), and assists (7) and adding 19 ground balls, 17 caused turnovers, and 17 draw controls, and will return in that capacity in 2016.

“Maggie is a great defender,” said Kahoe. “She is athletic, dynamic, and explosive. She has the ability to be a strong, two-way midfielder, and we are excited for her potential.”

A core group of sophomores will also be in the mix to make an impact this spring in draw control specialist Dana Garbinski, scoring threats Aly Gormley (Springfield-Delco) and Kristen Kelbon (Bishop Eustace), and defensive standout Kate Payne.

Injuries limited the playing time of both Garbinski (6g, 18 draw controls) and Payne (12 ground balls, 7 caused turnovers) last season, but both have worked hard and stepped up this offseason.

Gormley (9g, 5a), a 2015 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team selection, and Kelbon (7g) will also be called upon to make contributions on SJU’s offensive end. Both started more than half of SJU’s games last season and made all 16 appearances.

Junior Megan Tracy, who recorded an impressive 6 ground balls and 6 caused turnovers to go with a goal and an assist through five appearances last season, and junior Taylor Dachowski bring additional depth and experience while four-time All-Bayside Conference selection Ally Beck, two-time All-Inter Ac First Team pick Sinead Brierley (Springside Chestnut Hill Academy), 2013 3A/4A state champion Michaela Cassidy, and two-time High School All-American First Team selection Hayley Sabol will add to SJU’s midfield unit.

Senior veteran Caroline Hagan (Hatboro-Horsham) will anchor SJU’s defensive unit in 2016. A two-year starter who has played in 45 career games, Hagan is a solid defender that makes a significant impact for the Hawks on the back line. Last season, Hagan led the squad in caused turnovers (20), which moved her up to seventh on SJU’s list of all-time career caused turnovers (54). She has recorded 20+ ground balls and 20+ caused turnovers in back-to-back seasons, including 26 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers last year.

“Returning as our anchor of the defense, Caroline’s speed and defensive awareness will make an immediate impact in her final season,” said Kahoe

Classmate Courtney Emanuele is one of three returning Hawks to have made all 16 starts last season en route to ranking second on the squad in both ground balls (27) and caused turnovers (19). Against the 13th-best team in the nation, Emanuele turned in three ground balls and three caused turnovers against Penn and added a career-high four ground balls and a career-high four caused turnovers at St. Bonaventure.

Junior Becky Daub made eight starts, including in the final seven games of the season, as a defender last year and turned in 12 ground balls and nine turnovers in 15 appearances.

Graduate student Ashley Alden (William Tennent) enters her first season with the women’s lacrosse program after two seasons with SJU’s varsity softball squad. Her athleticism and versatility combined with the leadership and experience she brings day in and day out has made for an exciting addition to SJU’s defensive unit. Alden, junior Maura Monti and sophomore Catie Vivian will round out SJU’s back line.

Senior Genevieve Giblin (12-19) returns for her fourth season between the pipes for the Crimson and Gray in 2016. Giblin made 32 appearances with 29 starts in her first two seasons on Hawk Hill and turned in the fifth-best all-time, single-season goals against average (8.82) as a sophomore in 2014. She currently ranks sixth all-time in career saves (216) at SJU and owns a 9.84 goals against average and .410 save percentage in 1897:13.

“She is the leader of our defense,” said Kahoe. “She has a positive attitude and has stepped up a lot. She has made a lot of changes and has found that she is able to make more saves and be more effective for us.”

Freshman Jenna Ansell, who won two high school national championships at McDonogh High, will back up Giblin in net.

Saint Joseph’s will compete against members of seven conferences, including teams of the Patriot League, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, Northeast Conference, Ivy League, Big East, and Atlantic 10, this spring.

The Hawks’ 17-game schedule features nine home contests – including the Feb. 24 home opener against Monmouth – to be played on Sweeney Field. St. Joe’s will see an even four-home, four away game slate for non-conference play and will host five of nine Atlantic 10 games.

The non-conference portion of the schedule will run from February 20 through March 23 while regular-season A-10 action will run from April 1-29.

Saint Joseph’s will open the season with three February games, featuring a road game at American (Feb. 20) in Washington, D.C. and back-to-back home games vs. Monmouth (Feb. 24) and San Diego State (Feb. 27).

The Hawks will play their final non-local, non-conference game at Wagner (Mar. 5) in Staten Island, N.Y., before returning to Philadelphia to host Penn (Mar. 8) and Columbia (Mar. 19) and heading to Temple (Mar. 12) and Villanova (Mar. 23).

Of Saint Joseph’s eight non-conference opponents, the Hawks faced six last season en route to posting a 3-3 record, including wins over American, Monmouth, and Wagner. SJU’s overtime loss to Temple was decided by just one goal.

This year will mark the first meeting between Saint Joseph’s and San Diego State in program history while SJU and Columbia will meet for the first time in a regular-season game since 2004 and for the first time in a regular-season game under the direction of Coach Kahoe.

SJU’s nine A-10 games will span the month of April, beginning with seven-time defending champion Massachusetts (Apr. 1) at home. The Hawks will then face Davidson (Apr. 3) down in Davidson, N.C. before returning home to host Richmond (Apr. 8).

SJU will face city-rival La Salle (Apr. 10) before hosting back-to-back A-10 opponents in Duquesne (Apr. 15) and St. Bonaventure (Apr. 17). The Crimson and Gray will face VCU (Apr. 22) in Richmond, Va. before closing out the home season vs. George Mason (Apr. 24) and the regular season vs. George Washington (Apr. 29) down in Washington, D.C.

“We are looking forward to a competitive spring season,” said Kahoe. “We are excited to face strong teams during the non-conference portion of our schedule to help prepare for the Atlantic 10 season. The Atlantic 10 will be as competitive as ever in 2016, and we look forward to excellent competition during the month of April.”

The 2016 Atlantic 10 Championship will be held at Duquesne University’s Rooney Field in Pittsburgh, Pa. from May 5-8. The league has expanded the postseason field from four to six teams for the 2016 season.



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