Saint Joseph's Hawks
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Walsh: Early Season Thoughts

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RWalsh_HS.jpegby Rachel Walsh   

The past two weekends have brought the start of a new week and a new mindset for our team. To recap: we lost to Drexel, Fairfield, Ohio University, and Towson. The losses were tough but we're moving forward as a team in the right direction with our heads held high.

We knew the Drexel game would be a hard one, but we went into it both mentally and physically prepared. With the help of the coaching staff and our own hard work we were able to keep the score fairly low. The first half was a little shaky: we had some mental breakdowns as a team on defense that led to Drexel's four goals. However, at halftime, the team came together and we figured out how to hold them for the rest of the game (AND IT WORKED: Drexel didn't score in the second half!). This game taught us a lot about our team offense and defense. Offensively we had opportunities, but we couldn't capitalize on them (aside from Therese Doyle's beautiful goal in the first half). In the week to follow we worked a lot on offensive cutting, receiving, and passing. Defensively, the team realized we had a bit of communication and circle play issues, so we ironed those out in practice the following week as well. Overall, I was really proud of our team. We played really well against a team that is extremely good, and I think we held our own.
 
The Fairfield loss was a tough one to swallow. After the Drexel game, we were optimistic about the potential outcome of the game. We fixed some things from the day before, but not all, which allowed Fairfield to get two goals against us. During the game we were fighting the elements (it was POURING) and our muscle fatigue from the day before. Everyone gave it one hundred and ten percent on the field, but we still came up short. Though the outcome wasn't great, our team proved we had a fighting spirit and a desire to win. This game did highlight some things to work on as well which we did during the following week.

After a week's worth of hard work, we felt as though we were ready to take on Ohio University and Towson at the tournament this weekend at Temple. We had practiced hard and knew what we had to do to achieve some success. In some areas, that's exactly what we got. However, we still couldn't get that "W." The Ohio University game was a really impressive display of our team's hard work and attitude, though the score doesn't reflect it. We dominated for most of the game, keeping possession and cutting off of each other for the ball. Defensively, we did everything extremely well (with the exception of a few breakdowns). Just like we practiced, we were able to shut down Ohio's passing options for the most part. Ohio did get opportunities which they capitalized on which led to our losing outcome. However, as a team we were so excited to have played so well against a top twenty team (who recently beat someone in the top ten). We really brought it to them. We also were able to score two goals against them which kept our confidence high. We realized going into the Towson game that if we played like we did against Ohio we would be golden. Unfortunately, our game was full of lulls. We did have some moments of glory; we scored three goals and almost tied it up, but we fell short. Towson was probably the most disappointing of them all, because we were so hungry for that win.

As a team we're ready to move forward and break this streak. We are excellent competitors and we work really hard. We've learned crucial things about our game from these losses, and we're ready to fix the mistakes and move on. It's time to let go of the past and better our future. This week we're going to push ourselves to the limit, so we can ensure that it all will be left on the field next Sunday against Penn and we FINALLY get that win.

-Rachel

Rowe: Let's Get Started!

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Senior captains Ellen Rowe and Rachel Walsh will keep Hawk field hockey fans updated on this year's team, giving readers a student-athlete perspective on the day-to-day activities of the Saint Joseph's field hockey team.  As the squad prepares for its first game on Friday, "Captain's Corner" makes its 2011 debut.

by Ellen Rowe

August 10th marked the beginning of preseason for the 2011 Saint Joseph's field hockey team! We started off the season with our annual preseason fitness testing and I am proud of the effort put forth by all. Since then, we have been training three times a day with our wonderful coaching staff. Everyone is excited to welcome the new additions: USA field hockey program members Jessica Javelet and Shannon Taylor, as well as an experienced coach in Dallas Alexander have joined [head coach] Michelle Finegan this fall. Also, the squad has received ten new freshmen to bulk up the roster for this season. Congratulations to the freshmen for making it through the first 10 days of your first collegiate preseason! We have all pushed each other these past two weeks and as preseason comes winding down we have our first two games to look forward to this week - Drexel and Fairfield. Bring it on!

Saturday was our first scrimmage of the year against Rider, a team known for being pretty tough. We came out strong in the first half, but unfortunately a weak second half let Rider come out on top. As first scrimmages typically go, everyone got the chance to play and showcase some of the skills we have learned in preseason thus far. The scrimmage was a learning experience for all as we begin to trust one another and learn how to work together as a new team. After losing a strong senior class from last season, we are looking to the underclassmen to step up to the challenge and prove themselves on the field. Led by five seniors this year, our young team is anxious to prove the Atlantic 10 conference predictions wrong and be the underdogs that come out on top!

In other news, I know the team has been patiently waiting for this season because we finally get our new turf field! Playing at Drexel the past three years has really taken a toll on us. We have been fighting for a home field for a long time and the amount of adversity we have overcome is more than that of any other team. Ultimately, we have each other and we will (once again) pull through this. Let's show everybody that nothing can bring us down. And as we start our season on another team's field, keep in the back of your mind how good it will feel to win the A-10 championship on OUR FIELD. "Home" is where you are, whether it's at Drexel's field or our own on City Avenue.

Now lets finish this last week of preseason strong and prepare to face off against big-time rivals Drexel on Friday! I can't wait to see what this season has in store for us and to share my final year with this great group of girls. It's time for us to really show the world what we're made of. We have to believe it to achieve it. HERE WE GO ST. JOE'S!!!

-Ellen


Season Wrap-Up

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Thumbnail image for Wrublesky_9694.JPGby Jen Wrublesky

It is hard to believe that the season is over, especially since this year was my last.  The end of the season is always a sad time, but overall I am content with the way the team played this fall.  We welcomed in five new freshmen and got to show them what being part of a Division I team is like, along with welcoming them into their first experiences at college!  The sophomores have worked very hard, and yet somehow find ways to keep the mood light.  Whether it was playing "glee club" on the bus or little things like Leigh Deininger hiding in the laundry bin to scare people, the sophomores were always able to keep us laughing.  The five juniors are a strong bunch.  I still remember some of their official visits back when they were high school seniors!  Next year the team will really count on these five girls to step up and lead. 

Finally, the seven graduating seniors.  It is hard to believe that four years ago we were just meeting and getting to know each other, and that as a class we are almost all intact four years later.  Although I may be biased, I think the senior class has acted as glue, keeping all the different personalities and classes together.  It's still tough to imagine that we will all be graduating in May, but I know that everyone will be successful.
 
The season had its ups and downs, but the bonds between teammates may have been the strongest this year than any other season.  We weathered new storms, faced many challenges, and kept each other going.  I still can't believe that four years have already come and gone.  I remember being so nervous the first day of preseason in 2007, moving into my first dorm room, and playing in the Atlantic 10 Tournament when it was at St. Joe's.  The bonds and friendships I have made along with the incredible support network from the team are some of the best things I will remember about college.  I wish the team the best of luck next year, and I know the leadership, talent, and determination is there to create a successful team.

Jen


Wrublesky: Crucial Games to Close Out the Season

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Thumbnail image for Wrublesky_9694.JPGby Jen Wrublesky

As our last week of regular season practice winds down, the team is focused on victory this weekend.  We have two very tough games - Lock Haven, who we lost to last year, and Richmond, a team we battle every year.  It is vital that we win both games this weekend, especially since Temple, Richmond, and us are currently in a three-way tie with a record of 3-2.  Important things our team is working on in practice are increasing the tempo of our game, improving our possession passing and perfecting our corner teams.  

It is hard to believe how fast the season has gone.  I can't believe that our last regular season away trip happens this weekend.  The team is excited for both rematches this weekend, and I think everyone is ready to play again after the heartbreaker with UMass.

Jen


Swanick: Looking Forward

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Thumbnail image for Swanick_9711.JPGby Kelly Swanick

Unfortunately our 4-1 loss to UMass does not reflect the intensity, heart, and competitiveness that was displayed today on the field. Holding them almost the first 20 minutes to a 0-0 game and getting a lot of action in our offensive circle, it was clear from very early on this game was going to be a war. Unlucky for us UMass capitalized on some essential corners in the first half.  Despite the loss, I think this game gave us the desire and competitiveness to come out this upcoming weekend and really take it to Lock Haven and Richmond. This week's practice is going to be our first full week of practice without a Wednesday game in the middle.  This will really give us field time to focus on what we need to do to get two Ws this weekend.  There is no more time to hold back anything during these two games. If we want to make it to the tournament, which we do, the next two games will need to be hard-fought 70 minute field hockey games.  I believe in each and every single one of these girls that we can do this and we will.

Kelly

Swanick: A Complete Team Effort

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Thumbnail image for Swanick_9711.JPGby Kelly Swanick

Today's game against Saint Louis was a great team effort achieved by all. Although Saint Louis scored first, we answered back relentlessly, with a final score of 5-2. A lot of players off the bench saw action in today's game and made an immediate impact against our opponent. It was a fun game and great for the entire team to get some league game experience under their belt. This win was essential for our journey to the Atlantic 10 tournament. Saturday we leave for Massachusetts, we have practice on their field in the afternoon and then a team dinner.  This is a huge game for us and we hope to come out strong on Sunday.

Kelly

Swanick: Critical Conference Weekend Coming Up

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Thumbnail image for Swanick_9711.JPGby Kelly Swanick

Last night was a heartbreaking loss to our city rival, Penn.  I thought as a team we played great, possession passing was really on point, we created opportunities for ourselves, and held on for all 70 minutes causing us to go into overtime. Unfortunately, not everything went the Hawks' way last night but we just have to see this as a non-league opportunity to learn from and take our aggression out during the upcoming A-10 weekend.  I know myself, as well as the team, will be happy to be playing on short turf this Friday back at our home, Drexel's Buckley Field, vs Saint Louis. Today's practice will mostly consist of corners and shooting drills, nothing too intense. This weekend is a HUGE weekend for us as we play SLU Friday and then travel up to UMass on Saturday for Sunday's game.  If we can create two wins for ourselves, that would be huge in our road to A-10 postseason play.  There is no doubt in my mind we have the capability, but we are really going to have to play the best hockey we have seen from ourselves all season this weekend!

Together We Soar,

Kelly

La Salle and Senior Day

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Thumbnail image for Fry_9713.JPGby Casey Fry

This past Sunday we played La Salle for our third game in conference play. It was a hard-fought game between the two teams. We were down a goal within the first minute of play, but we answered right back with a beautiful goal and continued to score two more later on. In today's game we demonstrated our stick-to-stick passing and our ability to recover on defense. Also, our off-ball movement improves with every game. I think with the exception of the first minute of play we played very well. As a team we were all playing offense and all playing defense which created some of our fast breaks out of our defensive end. Overall, I thought the team showed heart and the desire on the field today, and proved that we are capable of winning even though we were down a goal early on.

Today was also Senior Day. We celebrated seven seniors who have been an intricate part of our team for the past four years. Since we have so many upperclassmen, we have many positive role models on and off the field. It has been a pleasure to be able to get to know these girls and play with them for the past four years. I have had such a wonderful experience at SJU and would not change a thing.

As a team we look forward to playing away at Penn on Wednesday for a non-conference game, then return to the Atlantic 10 by playing Saint Louis on Friday and going to Massachusetts on Sunday.  

Thank you for the Support!

Casey

Kelly Swanick and Jen Wrublesky also shared their thoughts on Senior Day...

Thumbnail image for Swanick_9711.JPGWhen I woke up this morning it was hard to believe it was already Senior Day...where is the time going? The team outdid themselves with locker room decorations and pictures, and they even made " We <3 Our Seniors" t-shirts!  The girls on this team, and their families, all have become my family for the past four years.  It is incredible that such a strong bond can be formed in merely four years. My time here on Hawk Hill has been unforgettable.  My friends made on this field will surely become friends for the rest of my life.  Playing field hockey at St. Joe's has made me so much more of a well-rounded person. It has taught me leadership, teamwork, time management and discipline. Michelle has been a great coach; the thing I admire most is her ability to recognize that as students we have other commitments we must put before field hockey at times (this is in reference to my junior year spring accounting internship) and allowing us to take these opportunities that present themselves to us. As it is my senior year I plan on holding nothing back for the rest of the season and hope for myself as well as the team nothing but our best play from this point forward.  I would like to thank everyone who has made my field hockey career what it is today and without your love and support none of this would have been accomplished. This team and the past four years have exceeded all expectations I could have ever hoped for. Thank you!

Kelly


Thumbnail image for Wrublesky_9694.JPGI can't believe Senior Day has already come and gone!  Vivid memories of reporting for my first collegiate preseason in August of 2007 are still fresh in my mind--the nervousness, trying to get names right, leaving home for the first time, and most importantly joining a whole new team.  I remember how confident the seniors were, how they welcomed all seven of us new freshmen onto the team, and most importantly how quickly the nervousness faded.  Looking back on three years of senior days I always thought that my senior day was so far off!  The team did a wonderful job decorating the locker room and making the seniors feel so loved.  Ultimately, Senior Day ended with a win, a fabulous tailgate, and a wonderful event put together by the underclassmen.

Senior year is a funny thing; we have all grown both on and off the field.  We are more confident in our play and our futures are beginning to take shape, yet the feeling of being a teammate and part of our field hockey "family" feels like it is just right.  This team is one of the closest I have ever played on, and to think that it is almost time to move on is bittersweet.  To see all the same emotions I felt my first day of preseason reflected in three different year's worth of teammates, the friendships that have developed, and the personalities that emerged made this day truly special.  Now we just have to keep winning all the way through the A-10 tournament to prolong our time together!

Jen

Fry: Big Win over West Chester

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Thumbnail image for Fry_9713.JPGby Casey Fry

Today we played our second game of the Atlantic 10 conference schedule against West Chester. It was a great win for us. We really have been working on our possession game, getting quick shots off, and playing all 70 minutes, which in my opinion we did very well today. We had great combination passing up the sideline and in through the middle which created two of our three goals. Also, as a team our off-the-ball movement has improved immensely, and I think that helped our possession game as well. Overall, we are still striving to play all 70 minutes of the game, but today was a total team effort to earn our first win in the Atlantic 10.

Sunday afternoon we are playing La Salle, which is our Senior Day. I cannot believe it is already here! We are celebrating the efforts of seven wonderful seniors. They have been great teammates for the past four years, and I could not have asked for a better class to play with.

Thank you for all the support!

Casey


Fry: Villanova and the Weekend

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Thumbnail image for Fry_9713.JPGby Casey Fry

Today's game, the "Holy War" against Villanova, was a tough loss in overtime.  Villanova is always one of our top rivals and one of our biggest games outside of our Atlantic 10 conference schedule.  We played with heart, desire, and determination to make a comeback after being down two goals at halftime to tie the game and take it into overtime.

As a team, we are still striving to play a full 70 minutes.  However, we did execute many of the skills we have been working on in practice to take us to that next level of play. We did capitalize on two of our scoring opportunities, which propelled us into overtime, and our defense played very well against Villanova's speed up top. Also, I thought a couple of players that came late into game provided a spark for our team, and took the play up a notch.  One spark in particular assisted one of today's goals.  Despite the loss with a minute left in overtime, we fought hard and played well.
 
Looking into the future, we start up the A-10 conference games again with West Chester on Friday and La Salle on Sunday.  We are looking to come away with two wins this weekend, but to do so we need to come out strong, capitalize on our opportunities, and play all 70 minutes.

Thank you for all the support!

Casey

 

Atlantic 10 Conference, links to atlantic10.orgN C A A, links to ncaa.org