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Women’s lacrosse: @NovaWLax tops @SJUHawks_WLAX for first win

Thursday, 2nd March 2017

Categories College, Girl's/Women's, Posted 3/2/17
From Press Release

Freshman Katie Comerford’s five goal-performance combined with junior goalkeeper’s Julia Michaels career-high 14 saves lifted Villanova over Saint Joseph’s 11-10 Wednesday afternoon at Sweeney Field.

The win was the Wildcats (1-3, 0-0 BIG EAST) first of the young season, while the loss marked the second-straight game that the Hawks (1-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10) dropped a one-goal game to a Philadelphia-area school (Temple, 14-13).

Comerford’s fifth goal of the contest came on a free position attempt with just 1:36 remaining to give the Wildcats a late 11-10 advantage. Saint Joseph’s earned the ensuing draw control, but the Wildcats would gain possession on a wide shot as Villanova would run out to clock to secure the victory. Head Coach Julie Young was proud of her team’s grit after Saint Joseph’s strong start to the second half.

Graduate student midfielder Mallory Grey (four goals) and freshman attacker Hope Anhut (three goals) kept combined for six goals in the final 20:02 to keep the Hawks in it. Nora McCallion (Academy of Notre Dame) added two goals, two groundballs and two caused turnovers.

“I thought that Saint Joseph’s came back and in that second half and fought really hard,” explained Young. “It was a testament to our character and how hard we’ve been working the past couple of days. We fought right back into the game and made some big plays when we had to. I’m proud that we made plays in critical moments to win that game. It’s something for us to build on.”

Michaels often stymied the Hawks’ attack that was averaging 14 goals per game entering today. The Mount Sinai, N.Y. native only allowed one goal in the first half and made key saves down the stretch to give Villanova its first win of the season. Her 14 saves were the most by Villanova goalkeeper since Jaclyn Fraum stopped 15 shots against Rutgers on March 29, 2014.

“Julia played really solid for us in between the pipes for 60 minutes,” continued Young. “She did a really good job of getting set for the next shot. She was an extra defender out there and made crucial stops for us.”

Senior Sam Scarfogliero became the all-time Villanova career leader in caused turnovers by forcing a Saint Joseph’s turnover with 19:47 remaining in the second half. She finished the game with two caused turnovers.

Sophomore Jillian Swikart registered a hat-trick on only four shots, while freshman Liz Trojan found the back of the net twice on both of her shot attempts. Senior Catherine Bendinelli (Villa Maria Academy) also scored in the contest to wrap up the scoring for Villanova.

Freshman Carlin Isaacson had an impressive game finding her teammates, recording four assists against the Hawks. Classmate Maggie Jennings and junior Kaitlyn Rau both had two assists.

Villanova finished the first half up 5-1, as Comerford scored her first two goals against the Hawks before the halftime intermission. After Saint Joseph’s and Villanova scored to start the second half, the Hawks reeled off five unanswered goals to take their first lead of the game at 7-6. The Wildcats settled down after the run by scoring two goals within four minutes to retake the lead at 8-7.

The Hawks countered with a 2-0 run to hold a slim 9-8 advantage, but Villanova responded with another 2-0 run to reclaim the lead at 10-8 with 6:29 left. Saint Joseph’s knotted the score at 10 for the fifth tie of the game, but Comerford delivered on the late free position as the Wildcats escaped Sweeney Field with a win.

Villanova returns home after a two-game road trip on Saturday against Monmouth. First draw is set for noon.

Notes: Villanova’s win marked the third straight win over Saint Joseph’s and tied the all-time series at 10-10… Michael’s previous career-high for saves in a game was 13 against Delaware last season… The last time that a Villanova player had four assists in a game was Kelsey Denihan last season against Saint Joseph’s (3/23/16)… Comerford’s five goals are the most for a Wildcat in a single game since Denihan scored seven against Michigan on 2/24/14… Young is now 5-5 all-time against Saint Joseph’s, Temple, La Salle and Penn as head coach of Villanova.

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