(Photo Courtesy of Saint Joseph’s Athletics)
Coming into Saturday, the Saint Joseph’s Hawks had claimed the NEC regular-season title five times. Each of those seasons ended with a loss in the NEC title game.
But Saturday was different. The top-seeded Hawks led wire to wire to take down the Hobart Statesmen, 14-7, and finally break through, winning the NEC Championship and punching their first ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
Carter Page led the way for the Hawks’ offense with five goals. Levi Anderson (2G/2A) and Tucker Brown (3G) also chipped in on that end for a unit that saw six different goal-scorers. Brown’s three goals came off just seven shots.
Robbie Seeley made 16 saves in cage to anchor the Saint Joseph’s defense, anchoring a defense that held the Statesmen scoreless for 15-plus minutes from early in the second quarter through near the 11:51 mark of the third.
Brown and Anderson got the scoring started to give the Hawks an early 2-0 lead. Hobart hung within one and two goals for the majority of the opening 15-plus minutes of play, but a pole goal from Alex Keener proved to be the spark Saint Joseph’s needed to be able to pull away.
From Keener’s score early in the second through the end of the half, the Hawks scored four unanswered to pull ahead 9-3 at the break. A three-goal Hawks run in the third quarter that saw Brown, Page, and Matt Bohmer each find if the back of the net but things further out of reach.
The two sided tied 2-2 in the final frame as the Statesmen scored a pair of consecutive man-up goals from Alex Rosa and Derrek Madonna, both of which were assisted by Tommy Mott. Hobart got a total of 11 shots off in the fourth quarter and 21 shots in the second half as a whole with 13 of them getting on cage. However, Seeley was there with nine of his 16 saves coming in those final two frames.