MERION STATION, PA. 10/12/2018 – The #13 Saint Joseph’s Hawks field hockey team extended their winning streak to eight games, and sit atop of the Atlantic 10 standings with a hard fought 3 – 1 win over the VCU Rams at Ellen Ryan Field. The Hawks are the only undefeated team in league play and dropped the Rams from first place.
Over the past few games Saint Joe’s was scoring goals. In this game it was apparent that the team would not simply outscore the opponent. The Hawks would have to establish themselves on the defensive end, and that is what they did. SJU limited VCU to 7 shots.
“Today was definitely a scrappy game, that’s how their energy was,” said Saint Joseph’s back Joely Helder who got the Hawks on the board scoring her 4th goal of the season. “We were able to get it out of our circle and do what it took to clear the ball out.”
“The tempo of the game can always be a challenge,” Lynn Farquhar, Saint Joseph’s Coach said. “The defense is reshaping the attacking side, that helped us out. Our defensive players were really focused. It was a huge difference and that’s when we went up on the board.”
The Hawks led 1 – 0 at halftime. Just over ten minutes into the second half the momentum took a turn in the Hawks direction when Emily Henry scored off the inside post to give the team a 2 – 0 lead.
“We love goals,” Farquhar said. “It’s always a lift. It definitely helped us. It does change the tempo of the game. That was a nice statement for us.”
The Rams made that comfort level short lived when midfielder Maite Strum put the only one past Hawk goal keeper Victoria Kammerinke at the 57:57 mark.
Forward Anna Willocks answered seven minutes later to end the scoring. The senior from Palmerston North, New Zealand added to her school record with her 69th career goal. Willocks is the program leader in goals, assists, and points. Midfielder Peppa Serrano assisted on the goal. She leads the team and the conference in assists with nine.
Kammerinke recorded her 11th win of the season and recorded 5 saves.
“We wanted to get after it since they were undefeated,” Holder said.
The Hawks improve to 11 – 2 overall and are 4 – 0 in conference. Saint Joe’s hosts Richmond before hitting the road to play Davidson and Saint Louis. SJU will close out the regular season hosting city rival La Salle.
“This whole weekend is huge for us, especially going into next week,” said Willocks. “Four Atlantic 10 games in a row, so it’s good to get this one out of the way.”
The Hawks are in good position to get to the Atlantic 10 Tournament which they will host on November 2nd and 3rd. The defending conference champions realize that to win it, the first step is to get there.
“It ‘s is huge for us to get to the tournament, and that’s really our focus is, making that,” Farquhar said. “Atlantic 10 games are super important for us.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian