PHILADELPHIA, PA. 5/5/2018 – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks men’s lacrosse team was looking to capture the perfect Northeast Conference season. They went through the regular season undefeated in league play, came into the tournament as the number-seed. One goal remained, the post-season title along with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It was so close, and yet so far when Robert Morris midfielder Tyson Gibson scored with 10 seconds left in overtime. The third seeded Colonials take the title in a thriller winning 9 – 8 over the Hawks at Sweeney Field.
“In a game that was this close, one shot, one way or the other, we had shots in overtime, but couldn’t put it in,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Taylor Wray about the last play not going in their direction. “That’s the way the game goes sometimes.”
Saint Joe’s showed great resilience getting two goals in the last five minutes by senior midfielder Kyle Cain with just 15 seconds on the clock in regulation giving the Hawks a chance to win.
“Our team showed great resilience coming back to tie it, but we couldn’t score in the overtime,” said Wray.
The first half was owned by the Hawks, who took a 6 – 3 into intermission. The offensive spark was not there until late in the fourth quarter. RMU won the third quarter 5 – 0 due to a face-off advantage of 5 – 2. Get the ball, and you have a chance to score. Two man-up goals by Colonials Matt Schmidt, a Central Bucks East graduate, and Brad McCulley gave their team a 7 – 6 lead, forcing the Hawks to play from behind.
“We didn’t have the ball as much as we needed to,” Wary said. “We had some opportunities, but didn’t finish them. They (RMU) played a great second half.”
Cain led all scorers with 4 goals. Goal keeper Mike Adler made 11 saves facing 20 shots.
Schmidt had a team-best 3 goals for RMU, while Gibson and Ryan Smith added two each. Goalie Alex Heger had 8 saves and was named the NEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
The #20 Saint Joe’s team ended their season with an 11 – 4 record. It was one of the best teams in program history. A foundation was created for future success. An overtime loss does not define the 2018 Hawks.
“I thought this team was a real pleasure to coach,”Wray said. “They helped to get us back on track. I am so happy for the seniors, but I know how disappointed they are right now.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian