By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies lacrosse team hadn’t won an Atlantic 10 game since 2011- before today.
The Bonnies (2-12, 1-4) scored 15 goals, their highest offensive output since they scored 15 in a 2013 win over Detroit, to defeat the St. Joseph’s Hawks 15-10 on Senior Day. The victory snapped a 27-game A-10 losing streak.
Junior LeighAnn Stauffer led all goal-scorers with five, on six shots. Senior Kaitlin Jennings and junior Mikayla Place also had hat tricks, while sophomore Erica Knaub added two goals and sophomores Gabrielle Bradley and Mary Maestri both chipped in a goal as well. Bradley, Jennings and sophomore Scarlet Jaworski each dished out two assists.
The first half was a relatively low-scoring one, with the Bonnies leading 4-3 at the break. Bona conceded a 9-6 deficit in ground balls to the Hawks, who were called for 17 fouls in an aggressive first 30 minutes. Stauffer and Hawks junior Kelly Phelan each put two in the back of the net in the opening half to establish themselves as offensive forces from the get-go.
In the second half, SBU took control in a juggernaut offensive performance. The Bonnies scored 11 goals in the second session, including five in the first 10 minutes and two in a six-second span. They shared the ball well and outran the Hawks, allowing themselves the luxury of being able to chew up clock as the contest winded down.
Bonaventure coach Ryan Lynn was noticeably thrilled with his team’s first conference victory.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “These girls have worked really, really hard the last few years and this core group of seniors has been here from the beginning with me. To see it finally come full circle for them and to see them get that first A-10 win, it’s a really great feeling inside.”
Senior Colleen Guilfoyle echoed her coach’s sentiments.
“It’s really awesome,” said Guilfoyle. “There’s no team I’d rather be out there with on Senior Day and for that first A-10 win. It was just an awesome experience, great day to be a Bonnie.
“We were ready. We were definitely hungry for (the win), but we knew it was coming… (fellow senior Kaitlin Jennings) and I stuck it out together. It’s kind of been us two the whole time, so it’s a great girl to go out with and I’m really proud of what she’s done and what we’ve done together.”
As for the offensive explosion, Lynn credited the team’s cohesiveness.
“I think we played as a solid group on offense today,” he said. “Everybody played a role, and I think they had it in their guts from the get-go that this was the day they were going to win it. By sticking together, moving the ball and playing smart offense they were able to get the win.”
The offense was flowing, but the Bona defense was also strong, especially goaltender Morgan Conroy. She made 11 tough saves and scooped up three ground balls to allow the offense to keep extending the lead.
Conroy and the defense have had struggles this year, allowing 15 or more goals in eight games. But today was the freshman goaltender’s day, with two of the ten goals allowed coming with the game firmly in Bonaventure’s grasp.
“As a freshman, she’s phenomenal,” said Lynn. “She’s stood up in every game for us, and she’s actually kept us in many of the games up to this point. It’s great to finally get the win for her, and she definitely kept us in this one to get the ball up to the offensive end and produce some goals.”
The Bonnies ending their in-conference drought gives them a taste of victory and some confidence moving forward.
“We need to keep this feeling alive,” Lynn said. “I think they need to now sit back and realize the potential that we do have.
“We knew we had (the potential), but that win really validated if. If they can keep that in the back of their minds and continue to work together and play hard, we should be able to win out the rest of the year.”
The team finishes out the regular season with three road games. They play at George Mason on Friday, George Washington next Sunday and Davidson the Sunday after that to round out the season.