MERION STATION, PA. 11/2/2018 – The nationally-ranked Saint Joseph’s field hockey team moves on to the Atlantic 10 final for the third consecutive year. The top-seeded Hawks defeated the 4th seeded Richmond Spiders 3 – 1 on Ellen Ryan Field. Saint Joe’s earned the opportunity to defend their conference title when they meet the winner of the VCU – UMass game. Excited to play would describe the Hawks.
“We say it is the best time of the year,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Lynn Farquhar. “It’s like Christmas. It’s tournament time and we are excited and ready to go.”
Anything can happen in a tournament setting. As conference favorites Saint Joe’s needed to get off to a good start. They did. Johanna Huse started the scoring at the 7:19 mark. just under seven minutes later leader-goal scorer Tonya Botherway got a breakaway on a pass from Anna Willocks and scored her 22nd goal of the season. Willocks made it 3 – 0 getting her 18th goal at 25:42. It was a start SJU was looking to get.
“It was really important to score the goal and set the tempo is really important for us,” Botherway said about the start. In the second half we dropped off a little bit, so we needed that.”
Richmond was getting outshot by a large margin, but got a goal by Steffie Bongers just over 10 minutes into the second half. The Spiders had some momentum going, and it would be up to the Hawks to respond. They did. SJU recaptured the territorial advantage getting four penalty corners in a short period of time. They did not score but did blunt the UR momentum.
“We have to listen and know that we cannot take anything for granted,” said Willocks. “Even if we are up 3 – nil we have to keep going after them.”
Saint Joseph’s will play for the Atlantic 10 Championship, something they pointed towards all season long. So, winning the semifinal game brought a low key celebration. This is a team that knows there is more work to be done.
Written By: Glenn Papazian