MERION STATION, Pa. – The Saint Joseph's field hockey team earned its second consecutive Atlantic 10 regular season championship on Saturday as the 17th-ranked Hawks topped Davidson, 3-0, at Ellen Ryan Field.
Junior Anna Willocks scored twice, while sophomore Pepa Serrano added a goal and two assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Victoria Kammerinke earned her seventh shutout of the season and set a new school record with her 16th win in the cage.
The championship is the third regular season title in program history, as the Hawks previously grabbed the crown in 1995 and 2016. The Hawks also tied a program record for wins in a season that was originally set by the 1995 team.
“We’re excited, and it feels awesome to defend the regular season title,” Willocks said after the game. “But that’s just our first goal down, and we have more goals we want to achieve.”
“[Matching the school wins record] is really cool, and I think that our coaches have played a huge part in that,” junior Joely Helder said. “Each and every day, they have a game plan for us and the way they work with each and every one of us is great.”
“It’s awesome that we have those records to chase,” Willocks added. “The 1995 team are our alums and we want go after those marks and we’re working hard to do that.”
The teams played a fairly even start to the contest, and it was Davidson (1-16 overall, 1-7 Atlantic 10) that had the first prime opportunity, earning consecutive penalty corners midway through the first half.
Saint Joseph’s (16-3 overall, 7-1 Atlantic 10) would break through with 7:55 to go in the frame. After a penalty corner, Willocks sent a pass to Serrano before taking the return feed and putting it past Davidson’s Sarah Zeszotarski for a 1-0 lead that would carry into halftime.
The Wildcats earned a pair of corners shortly after the break, but it would again be the Hawks that converted on a corner opportunity, as Serrano and freshman Emily Henry set up Willocks for her second goal of the game and 16th of the season with 21:38 to go.
Serrano then closed out the scoring six minutes later, beating Zeszotarski with a reverse shot to set the final margin.
Kammerinke made two saves on the day, both in the first half, while Zeszotarski made five. The Hawks outshot the Wildcats, 15-6, and enjoyed a 5-4 advantage in penalty corner chances.
“Davidson fought the entire game, so a lot of credit to them for starting strong and finishing strong,” head coach Lynn Farquhar said. “We were a little off at the start of the game, which is going to happen in sport, but it was really encouraging that we were able to change it around in-game. It was multiple players who focused on something small and were able to change the game. It’s an area where we’ve taken a huge step, and that was the most important takeaway from today.”
The Hawks have earned the top seed in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Field Hockey Championship scheduled to begin on Friday, November 3, at Massachusetts. The tournament bracket and matchups will be announced by the conference on Sunday.
“Our goal has been to come together as a team, develop our own style of play, focus on our team character, and take it one step at a time,” Farquhar said. “We have small goals and we have big goals; at the end of the day if we focus too much on those long-term goals, we won’t become the team we think we’re capable of being, so we’re going to stay on point with what we’ve been doing.
“We’re inspired to take the next step; in the postseason, at tournament time, anything can happen, and it’s a thriliing time for any sporting event,” Farquhar said. “Hopefully we’re revved up and excited for it.”