Women's Lacrosse: Saint Joe's extends hot start with win over USM


STANDISH—St. Joseph’s College moved to 3-0 with a home win vs. the University of Southern Maine on Thursday, March 15. Kayla Kelly (York, Maine) netted six goals to lead the Monks in triumphing 11-7 over the Huskies.

“We expected a lot of athleticism from their offense and defense,” said USM head coach Ashley Durepo, “and that’s what we saw in the game. Our strategy was to key in on their three top scorers – Elyse Caiazzo (Scarborough, Maine/Cheverus), Kara Kelly (York, Maine) and Kayla Kelly. While we did a great job defensively on both Caiazzo and Kara Kelly, we were not able to slow down Kayla Kelly.”

“Over the past few years, we have had great games as rivals,” Monks’ head coach Rupert Lewis said, asked about the USM squad, “and I knew this game would provide all the excit[ing] challenges of two good teams competing.”

The Monks comprise players from across New England, including a number of locals: Brittney Arsenault, for instance, hails from Westbrook, while Megan Baker is a Gorham native. Liz Callahan calls Scarborough her hometown, while Brianne Maloney arrived from South Portland and Alice Murphy from Freeport.

The Huskies are similarly composed. Taylor Colangelo grew up in Windham, Alex Farley in Buxton, Aliza Jordan in Gorham, and Lexii Greene and Cindy Hoang both in Portland.

The teams traded blows through the uphill half on Thursday, SJC striking first – just over three minutes in – on a Kayla-Kelly-from-Kara-Kelly shot. Farley responded for the Huskies 77 seconds later, but Monk Samantha Medlin (Kingston, Massachusettes) answered in kind shortly thereafter, keeping SJC out front 2-1. 

As time ticked away, SJC built to a 6-5 advantage at the break. Kayla Kelly added two more for the Monks, Kara Kelly one and Caiazzo one. Allison Irish scored twice for the Huskies, as did Jordan.

The Monks seized the momentum in the latter half, notching five of their own while holding USM to a mere two. Kayla Kelly opened the push just 59 seconds deep, putting SJC up 7-5. Farley responded, but it took her six and a half minutes to manage the feat, and Kelly came right back anyway: 8-6.

“I felt we out hustled and regained our composure in the second half,” Lewis said, asked what made the difference for his ladies in the end.

Colangelo, immediately following a stretch on the sidelines for an infraction, tallied for USM. Colangelo’s strike would, however, be the Huskies’ last of the action. The Monks hashed three through the last 12 minutes to secure the win, Madison Beaulieu (West Gardiner, Maine), Kayla Kelly and Kara Kelly each kicking in one.

“After the first timeout, I told my team to settle down and play our game and regain our composure,” Lewis said. “Do the things we worked on and believe and trust in the process. I reminded them that success comes from effort over time.”

“Unfortunately, we did not make the in-game adjustments that we needed to make defensively, and allowed St. Joseph’s to control the time of possession in the second half,” Durepo said. “When we would get the ball on offense, their defense held strong and we were not able to maintain enough possession time to allow our defense to get a break.”

“Overall, it was a great learning experience for our young squad to understand the importance of possession and composure in a close game,” Durepo said. 

Durepo praised both Jordan and Farley. “Not only did Aliza produce on offense for us,” she said, “but she also tallied four ground balls, four draws and three caused turnovers without getting a break. She does so many of the little things well that help us complete in games, which makes her a great leader for this team.”

“Alex has produced very well for us this year,” Durepo went on, “but the most exciting thing about Alex is how much potential she has. She’s getting better every practice and every game.

Like the final score, the game’s other stats show SJC with the edge. The Monks posted 28 shots to USM’s 23; won 30 ground balls to USM’s 15; performed more efficiently on clears, going 8-12 versus their opponents’ 6-19; and committed fewer turnovers (22 to 24). 

The Huskies did match SJC in draw controls, with each side grabbing 10 (Arsenault had five). Likewise, USM scored on 80 percent (4-5) of their free-position attempts, compared to the Monks’ 55 percent (5-9).

As mentioned, Kayla Kelly finished with six goals for the Monks. Kara Kelly finished with two and an assist; Beaulieu and Caiazzo a goal and an assist apiece; and Medlin a goal. Farley, Jordan and Irish had two goals each for the Huskies, and Jordan an assist. Colangelo had the one goal.

SJC faces off at home vs. Simmons on Tuesday the 20th. They travel to Albertus Magnus on Saturday the 24th. USM moved to 2-2 with a win over Colby-Sawyer on the 18th; they host UMaine Farmington on the 21st.

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Westbrook native Brittney Arsenault, seen here in a file photo, earned half of St. Joe’s draw wins vs. USM last Thursday.

Photo by David Bates.

Aliza Jordan, seen here in a file photo, contributed two goals and an assist vs. St. Joe’s last Thursday. Jordan hails from Gorham originally.

Photo by Jason Johns.