BOSTON, Mass. – The University of Saint Joseph lacrosse team had its history-making season come to an end Tuesday night with a 20-8 loss to Emmanuel College in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinal game at Roberto Clemente Field.
St. Joseph, the eighth seed, qualified for the tournament for the first in the seven-year history of the league. The Blue Jays finished the season 4-10. Top-seeded Emmanuel is 13-2 and will host Norwich Thursday in a tournament semifinal.
Junior Dayna Gambino (Newington, Conn.) scored three goals and had an assist for St. Joseph and senior Erika Leitao (Southington, Conn.) scored three times. Leitao, playing in her final game, scored the Blue Jays' final goal of the game with 4:45 to play and in so doing, scored her 100th career goal. She joins Gambino as the only Blue Jays to each the 100-goal mark.
Junior Rachel Foster had one goal and four assists for USJ and senior Hayley Tufano (Farmington, Conn.) scored a goal. Junior Kathryn Zeugner (Windsor, Conn.) and sophomore Bridget Saur (Vernon, Conn.) were strong at the defensive end and each picked up a team-high five ground balls.
Nearly every significant single-season school record was broken this season: Gambino scored 43 goals; Foster had 24 assists and 63 points; and seniors Francesca Mastria (Higganum, Conn.) and Justine Mojsa (Newington, Conn.) each had 56 ground balls.
USJ got off to a great start Tuesday with goals from Tufano and Foster staking the Blue Jays to a 2-1 lead, five minutes in. After Emmanuel took a one-goal lead, Gambino and Leitao had goals to put USJ back in front and Gambino's second put St. Joseph up 5-3 with 11:42 left in the half.
But Emmanuel scored the next four goals and nine of 10 before Leitao's second of the game, with 15 seconds left in the half, pulled the Blue Jays within 12-7 at intermission.
The Saints kept USJ off the board for the first 25 minutes of the second half with Leitao's milestone goal being the Blue Jays' lone tally of the final 30 minutes. Emmanuel outshot St. Joseph, 41-16 and USJ senior goalkeeper Anne Pitoniak (West Haven, Conn.) made 14 saves in her final appearance.