February 28, 2012

Monmouth Holds On for Win over St. Joseph's

from press release

PHILADELPHIA -- Senior Sam Lillo's (Short Hills, N.J./Milburn) free position goal with 7:02 remaining proved to be the game winner in a back and forth affair between Monmouth University (1-3) and Saint Joseph's (1-2), one that the Hawks won 10-9 on Tuesday afternoon.

"It was a great team effort," said head coach Denise Wescott. "Everywhere on the field we were making big plays when we needed to.  We put the ball in cage when we needed it most and defensively we stopped their best drivers towards the end. I thought we were more proactive today, when we needed a goal we settled in and made sure to get a good look. Defensively, when we needed to get a stop we were able to. "

The win was the first for Monmouth in 2012 and avenged last year's 11-6 loss to SJU, who slips to 1-3. Sophomore transfer Kaleigh Gibbons (Candia, N.H./Manchester Central/Robert Morris) kept the Hawks in the game in the first half, scoring a career-high three goals in the first 30 minutes. Sophomore Alex Marino(Howell, N.J./Freehold Twp.) also notched a career-high three goals, including two in the second half to regain the lead for MU.

"We moved the ball well enough to open opportunities on the back side of the defense and Kaleigh kept getting open and getting good shots off.  Alex Marino got some quality shots off today, even the ones that didn't go in, she definitely helped us offensively. Our whole defensive unit played well, I thought L.J. (Lauren Johnson) and Kaliegh did a nice job on Dinn, she really didn't hurt us as much in the second half."

Freshman Karlee Dean (Medford Lakes, N.J./Shawnee) tied the game up at 7-7 just three minutes into the half before Dean fed Marino at the 26:03 mark for Monmouth's first lead of the game. Four minutes later senior Grace Dinn tied the game for Saint Joe's but Marino answered on a free position shot with just under 18 minutes left in regulation.  SJU's Val Paolucci scored for the second time in the game at 12:19 to knot things up at 9-9. Starting at the 10:08 mark Lillo peppered SJU goalie Alisha Aquilino with three shots, the last of which came on a free position attempt that beat Aquilino for the eventual game-winner.  Saint Joe's won the ensuing draw and earned a  free position shot that was promptly turned away by MU goalie Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Secondary School).  The home team Hawks would get two more shots off in the final five minutes but could not tie it up and MU held on for the one-goal victory.

Dinn got SJU on the board just 47 seconds into the game but Gibbons tallied her first goal for the Blue & White a little less than 90 seconds later to tie it up.  Saint Joe's built a 3-1 lead with back to back goals before Marino scored her first marker with 18:11 remaining in the first half to cut the lead to one.  Seven minutes later junior Kirstyn Urbas (Sewell, N.J./Washington Twp.) tied the game up.  The teams traded goals over the next three minutes when Saint Joe's scored three unanswered goals to take what appeared to be a commanding 7-4 lead with just three minutes to play.  MU showed its resolve, scoring two goals in the final 1:44 to cut the lead to one at halftime.  With 1:44 left in the first, Gibbons scored for the third time in the half, which was followed up by senior Lynn White's (Deer Park, N.Y./Deer Park) marker 48 seconds later.

Donohoe made eight saves in the win had five ground balls and three caused turnovers. Gibbons added three ground balls, a caused turnover and a draw control to her career-high four point effort.  Dinn finished with three goals for SJU, with Jen Peters scoring twice.

The two teams were almost identical on shots, with MU holding a slight 23-22 advantage. Saint Joe's controlled 13 draws in the game, including 11 in the first half alone.  The Blue & White had one less turnover than SJU (15-14).

Monmouth is back at home on Saturday for a 12 p.m. game against defending MAAC Champions Canisius College. That game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m.

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