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Hoover: All Heart

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This weekend, we faced two very competitive teams, Ohio University and the University of Virginia. Both teams are well-respected and Virginia is nationally ranked. We knew going into the weekend that we were the underdog and were going to have to bring our A-game in each match.

On Friday, we started it off with Ohio University; they got a quick goal on us as we were caught off guard in the first minute of play. It was 2-0 at half and we put up a tough fight. Defensively, we stepped up our game and worked on possessing the ball all over the field. We kept the Bobcats scoreless in the second half. Although unsuccessful in getting the win, we learned from our experience and carried it over in to our play against Virginia.

Virginia had just come off a high after defeating Maryland, last year's NCAA National Champions, so we knew they were going to be very competitive.   Not only would they be spirited but also extremely talented due to the fact they had two Olympians on their roster that competed in the 2012 games in London. The game started and as expected they came at us right away. UVA earned a penalty corner in the first five minutes of play and struck first on the scoreboard. We remained positive even after they scored their second goal. As a team we fought to keep the ball out of the defensive end and generate offense. We earned a penalty corner in which Nicole Gerdes put the ball in the left corner for a goal. This gave us the boost of confidence to never give up. Within a minute Gerdes found herself in front of the cage again and took a reverse shot.  After hearing the ref blow his whistle for the confirmation of the goal, the team went crazy. The game was 2-2 going into the second half and the Hawks were flying high.

The second half was underway and UVA came at us harder than ever. After fighting hard the entire the second half, the Cavilers were able to get four more goals making the score 6-2. But still we found ourselves composed and determined to continue in the battle. In the last 30 seconds of play we had earned another penalty corner. There was no time left on the clock, we brought everyone up on offense and were determined to not get out of the circle until the ball was in the cage. The ball was inserted and a shot was taken, but was tipped by UVA.  There was a scramble in front of the cage and the ball was going to the left post of the cage for Rachael Brosious to put it in for the Hawks' third goal of the game.

Even though we came up empty handed for wins this weekend, we proved to ourselves that if we just believe and play together and with heart, good things will happen. This weekend was a great experience for the Hawks and we will take this into our conference play which begins on Sunday at Saint Louis.

But before Atlantic 10 action begins, the St. Joe's-Villanova ricalry will kick off on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on Ellen Ryan Field.


-Abby

Hoover: Back on Track

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Once again, the captains of the Saint Joseph's field hockey team will be keeping you updated on how the team is doing from the viewpoint of a student-athlete.  This season, seniors Leigh Deininger and Abby Hoover will be serving as team captains and your humble narrators.

Finally...back on track. The past three weeks the Hawks have been fighting for a win. Sunday we came in with a new attitude and motto, and that was to "have fun."  After a five-game losing streak we were struggling to find confidence.  The win against Siena has helped to bring that back and put us in the direction that we want to be in. Jordan Cotter set the tone against Siena by going hard to every ball and not giving up until the ball was in the cage. Jordan Martin was another big contributor, putting the ball in the cage twice for us. Our passing game and distribution of the ball has truly improved and is only getting better, and our midfield is who should be recognized for that. Kate Mitchell continues to make big saves in the cage along with being the main communicator and director on the field.

Our practice focus has been on going back to basics with working on the simple game by developing our individual defensive skills as well as offensive skills. Like any team, we want to be on offense more than we are on defense.  We have had great moments in all of our games but we want to more effective by remaining focused to control the game for the full 70 minutes.

The underclassmen have been huge contributors to our lineup as well as challenging the upperclassmen to become better players. The team has truly come together during this time of struggle and moving forward to gain experience to be successful. Each and every Hawk has something to bring to the table, which is an asset to the team.  

We have about 2 weeks before we shift into Atlantic 10 play. These out-of-conference games have been challenging the team to work together, get the kinks out, and make us better for the A-10.  Coming up, we have Monmouth and Colgate, two teams that we will attack right from the start because this team is hungry for more wins!

-Abby

Reflections

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Senior captains Ellen Rowe and Rachel Walsh have been updating Hawk fans throughout the season via the "Captain's Corner" blog.  As their seniors seasons came to an end, both student-athletes shared their reflections on four years of Hawk field hockey.


It's been a little over a week since our season is over and it still doesn't feel real to me. No more early morning practices, sleepless nights before games, pre-game pasta dinners, bus trip pranks or locker room talks. My last blog was before the Lock Haven game. This was how things panned out since that point on.

Friday morning we loaded up the bus for our last away game of the season, and the seniors' last away game ever. It was roughly a three-hour ride to Lock Haven's mountainous field on a chilly, bleak fall day. The ride up was fairly tame. Everyone listened to their iPods as their minds weighed heavily on the pending game. Upon arrival, we entered the locker room of our rival, a familiar scene for some. Some of the freshmen class was assigned pump-up duty for the day. They chose to read an inspirational excerpt from the ice hockey movie "Miracle" and ask all of the players to turn to the person on her right and say what she brings to the team. Shortly after, we headed out to the field for warm-up. When it was time for the official start of the game, we were ready to take them on. The entire game was an all-out brawl. After scoring in the last few minutes of the game, we had tied it up; signaling overtime. The score was 1-1. The Hawks battled for the first overtime period. It was exhausting, and although we were controlling the game, we couldn't put one in to end it. We were headed for a second period of overtime. I had a feeling we were going to pull through. We were the faster bunch out there. It seemed like it was in the cards for us. But shortly after the start of the second half there was a controversial call and Lock Haven had come out with the W. Despite the outcome, we fought hard all the way til the end, and I'm proud of my team for overcoming the adversity with the refs, opposing team, and the Lock Haven fans. We may not have left the field winners on the scoreboard, but we were winners in our hearts.

After Friday, we had one final practice for the 2011 season, and due to inclement weather, we didn't even get to spend it on Ellen Ryan Field. We played a relaxing, yet competitive, game of kickball in the gym (which the upperclassmen won) due to an odd downpour of snow outside. That night brought on a mixture of feelings. Sunday was Senior Day, a day that is supposed to be happy and fun, but it was also our last game, which was sad. Going to sleep that night was hard. It was my last "night-before-a-game" butterflies I would experience. The next morning the seniors entered the hallway to the locker room together for one last time. The underclassmen decorated the walls with posters with our names. Inside the locker room, they had strung lights from the ceiling, put balloons with our names on them on our stools, decorated every aspect of our lockers and had the nicest Senior Day shirts made. We were all so thankful to have such great underclassmen that appreciate us. After our final pregame talk, it was time to hit the field for one last game. Hung on the practice field hockey cages were life-size action shot posters of the five seniors. We were announced with our parents before the start of the game. Four years worth of accomplishments from years of dedication to the sport were announced to the stands. With tears in our eyes and heavy hearts we accepted our framed photos and flowers.

Our names were announced for one final time as we ran through the team, slapping hands and cheering for each other. Holding hands, we silently stood in the middle of the field for the national anthem. Theresa Testa yelled, "HERE WE GO ST. JOES!" one last time, which is something that I will remember every time I hear the national anthem. For 70 minutes everyone on that field played her heart out. The final score was 3-1 Hawks over Saint Louis. As the seconds ticked down and the final whistle blew, I closed my eyes and savored the moment. I turned to my left and hugged Therese Doyle as the team ran on to the field to embrace each other. It was a bittersweet feeling, moreso sad than anything. What we have come to know and love had come to an end.

As an athlete, you never think that the day will come when you hang up your turfs and clean out your locker, never to set foot on the field again wearing that uniform. Even as the days started winding down in our season I never truly thought that final day would come. I guess I was in denial. I wish more than anything that I could be a freshman again. I'd give anything for one more season, but then again I wouldn't be ready for that one to end either. As sad as it is, I know that something I am so passionate about will be a part of my life forever. My field hockey days at SJU may have ended, but field hockey will never "end" for me.

Thank you to all the dedicated fans that have supported us through countless adversities over the years. Thank you to all of the parents, who throw the best tailgates in the world. Thank you to all of the coaches who have been with us in the last four seasons. And finally, I want to thank all of the girls on the team, past and present, for being wonderful teammates through thick and thin, wins and losses. I will never forget staying in the Crowne Plaza for preseason freshmen year, bottomless chips at Chili's, plyos practices during free period with Jackie in the asbestos gym, forking Mary Beaman's lawn, THE GAUNTLET, Tuesday morning non-stop running sessions, the hurricane practice, the little boys taunting us at Drexel, Ted, the index card game in the hotels, beating the underclassmen at every singing contest on the bus, our many nights at Olive Garden (where it was always someone's birthday), finally getting a home field, the infinite weekend, temporarily severing friendships during "competition practices" and so much more. The times with the team will always be my favorite college memories. To the underclassmen: best of luck next season! Strive to be undefeated and never give up. To my seniors: thanks for so many precious memories. We had a good run. I love you all, and I know we will be friends for life. Ruff Ryders <3

-Ellen


RWalsh_HS.jpegIt breaks my heart to have to type this last blog: our season has ended. These girls, my team, and I will never step on the same field together again. That thought brings tears to my eyes every time it enters into my head, but I look back on the years I've spent with this incredible group of people and I just have to sit back and smile.

When I look back on my career and this season, it's not the wins or losses I'll remember, it's the memories I've created with our team--my family. Sure, there are some games that will forever be embedded in my mind, like our overtime win against Villanova and our Senior Day game against Saint Louis. Those games were two of the best: the Villanova game we came together as a team to collectively pull out a well-deserved win, and the Saint Louis game was just memorable on so many levels (it was my Senior Day game, last game ever, and we played an amazing game collectively). I could go on and on and on about memories off the field that I'll take with me for life. I won't bore readers, but for my fellow teammates: practicing in hurricanes, being slimed, saw masks on road trips, T-pain's infamous song, GET OUTTA YOUR MIND, van rides to Drexel, and so many more. I leave SJUFH knowing that these stories will keep me connected to this program, and to my teammates (past and present) for life.

Overall, this season has taught me a lot of things. I learned how to represent and speak for my team, and to communicate effectively. I have learned how to work with new teammates and strengthen my relationships with older ones. I am better at accepting defeat, but more importantly cherishing victories. Most importantly, I have learned to move forward with my team, accept what I cannot change, and better myself for my team along the way.

To my team: I love you all very much. You girls have been with me through good and bad. We share so many memories, so many goals, and so much love.

FRESHMEN, to you, this all was so new. I commend you for dealing with the tremendous changes you have experienced this year with excellence and poise. Coming into a new team at an intense level can be so hard, but you gave us no choice but to love you. I hope you get all you want out of this program and that you keep making strides to achieve your goals. You helped shaped my season and definitely made it VERY interesting, and fairy-dust filled. You are all princesses to me.

SOPHOMORES, you too have so much going for you. Your hard work continues to surprise me, and you inspire me to better myself. You bring such a spark to this team, not to mention temptations to go shopping (Sara).

JUNIORS, you are the closest class to us, and I'm happy to have spent a majority of my career at St. Joe's with you. From the moment you came in as little freshmen, we've hit it off and been close. I couldn't ask for a better group of girls to carry on the legacy. You girls have what it takes to go far, and I'll be there to cheer you on every step of the way.

Finally, to my four best friends, the five of us have been through it all. This season wasn't the most perfect, but we did the best we could to leave our mark on SJUFH--and looking back, I believe we did. We have overcome so much together and have come out of this with the most important thing: each other. I wouldn't trade having a field or winning a championship for the experiences I've had with all of you.

Like I said before, this season wasn't that great on paper, but to me, it was all it should've been. I learned so much on and off the field, strengthened my relationships, and built new ones. I look forward to the next chapter in my life, and to supporting SJUFH in its next chapter. I am so grateful and happy to have been a part of such an amazing organization with dedicated, motivating coaches, and a family full of amazing girls.

-Rachel

Rowe: All on the Line

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by Ellen Rowe

I struggle to write this blog knowing that after this weekend our road to the Atlantic 10 Tournament has come to a halt.

It began with the Richmond game this past Friday. We practiced that week knowing that the coming weekend's games were crucial to our fate. Richmond is always a very skilled team. The past years have been tough losses to Richmond, however this season we were looking for a win. The game began with an SJU tap off at the center of the field. We kept the ball in our offensive end for quite some time. In my mind I began to think that this was the year we would finally beat Richmond. The Spiders managed to have some lucky breakaways that led to goals, and at halftime they led, 3-1.

All hope was not lost. We came out in the second half looking to even up the scoreboard. Richmond, unfortunately, fought to keep their lead. The final score of the match was 6-3. It was a devastating loss for the Hawks. This loss meant that we had to win every single one of our last three games in order to make it into the A-10 tournament. There was absolutely no room for error. If that isn't a tremendous amount of pressure, then I don't know what is.

We had only one day of practice to gather our thoughts and prepare for Sunday's game against La Salle. To make matters worse, we had the extreme disadvantage of playing on La Salle's grass turf, which is very different from the Astroturf we normally play on. This was a complete game-changer. The pace of the ball is much slower and very bouncy.

We came out hard in the first half, dominating in our offensive end. At halftime the score was 0-0. This was going to be a battle to the end, with both teams knowing this win was crucial for a spot in the tournament. I had a good feeling about the game. Everyone was playing their hardest. We wanted this win. We NEEDED this win. In the second half L aSalle scored two goals. The Hawks managed to score one in the last 25 seconds, but it was not enough. The game was over, and so was our chance of making the tournament. 

If heart alone could win games, we would have beaten La Salle by a long-shot. Everyone worked so hard, and to come up short is completely devastating. In my mind, we won that game. We outplayed them, outshot them and poured all our energy into that 70-minute span. The score doesn't show it, but it should. We should be in that tournament and the fact that we aren't will eat at me forever. For the seniors, we had a good run. We won't get to play with the team in another A-10 tournament, but we do have two conference games left to finish out our season. It will be hard to make it through our last collegiate week of field hockey, knowing the end is near. We have three practices before we pay a visit to Lock Haven on Friday and then end our season with Senior Day versus Saint Louis at home on Sunday. It's going to be a bittersweet day for the seniors, as the last chapter of our collegiate hockey careers comes to a close. The season isn't over yet, so let's end on a positive note as a team with two wins this week and soak up the last memories of the 2011 SJUFH season.

-Ellen


Walsh: The Thrill of Victory, the Agony of Defeat

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by Rachel Walsh

This past week we had four games, and split 50/50. We won against Villanova and Georgetown and lost to Temple and UMass. This busy, busy week has taught us a lot about what we need to do to advance in our conference. Even though we're 0-2 in Atlantic 10 play, we're keeping our heads up and moving forward as a team.
 
The game against Villanova was a roller coaster to say the least. We scored first, and were able to keep them at our heels in the first half; but they answered back in the second half with two goals, one of which was scored with 1:21 left on the clock. A timeout was called, and we knew what we had to do: get it into their circle. The next minute felt like 5 seconds. Then, with 30 seconds left on the clock, we earned a penalty corner and executed it PERFECTLY. GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL :) !!!!

In the 15 minute overtime that was to follow, Therese Doyle would score a goal with 6 minutes left. We were all ecstatic! Not only did we win the "Holy War" for the first time in what seems like forever, we also proved to ourselves that we could come from behind, execute when we need to, and come out on top against a good team. This game was no joke, we knew going into it that it would be a hard game (because it always is) and we knew 'Nova had a good team. We dominated a majority of the game. It was unfortunate that we had those two minor breakdowns that they capitalized on, but overall everyone was completely happy with the result. Finally, the curse of losing every home game (to that point) on our home turf was broken!
 
Despite the exciment of Wednesday's game, our team kept working (bright and early) the next morning at practice. We had a few letdowns and we knew UMass could capitalize on our breakdowns if we didn't address them. Individual defense was a main focus, as well as perfect offensive penalty corners. Then it was off the Amherst, where we would play our second conference game.
 
The result was extremely disappointing. UMass got an early lead as they scored off a tip on a penalty corner within the first two minutes of the game. We were able to hold them off for another 17 minutes, but they notched two more goals before half. We knew we had to step it up: our individual defense was poor, and we couldnt get it past their defense. The second half was a blur; UMass scored four more goals to make the final score 7-0. We were upset, disappointed, embarrassed. This game highlighted major mistakes we make, but we're ready to fix them and ready to move forward within the conference. We all vowed to leave 110% out on the field at practice this week and leave the past games behind us. "There's a reason why your rearview mirror is so much smaller than your windshield." We have four games left, all four in-conference, and all four teams are beatable. To seal our spot in the conference tournament we would have to win three out of the four, but winning all four would definitely help.
 
 LET'S GO SJUFH!  BEAT RICHMOND!
 
-Rachel

Rowe: A Busy Stretch

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by Ellen Rowe

What a busy few weeks its been for the field hockey team!

We took on nationally-ranked Cal at home and put up a tough fight, yet couldn't pull through. They were a really talented team and we learned a lot from playing them.

Shortly thereafter, we traveled to Albany to take on Siena and had a great 7-1 win! It was a great team effort by all. A lot of the freshmen got a chance to show how hard they have been working. Megan DeMarco got her first collegiate goal! Congrats Meg! Nicole Gerdes had her first multi-goal game, scoring two goals in the match. Good work Nicole! Siena was our first true road trip this season and it was a lot of fun.

Our next game was against Temple on October 7th. We came into that game knowing it was going to be very tough. The Owls are our biggest rivals in Philly, and we knew they had a very aggressive team this year. Before the game was the field dedication for SJU legend Ellen Ryan. It was a very special moment for Ellen and all who attended. She seemed very touched by the tremendous turnout and support for the event. We were all very honored to get to be a part of that historical moment. Congrats Ellen and thank you for supporting our team all these years! We are proud to play in your name.

After the dedication it was game time. Temple came out with guns blazing. Despite our countless efforts, they ended up winning the game, 4-1. It was a physical and mental battle, as always, with the Owls. Hopefully we will see them again in the A-10 tournament; this time coming out on top.

The day after Temple, the Hawks were on the road again. It was a crazy bus ride to Washington, D.C. filled with song battles, movies and stealing Joe's camera to record some videos of our own. We had a game with Georgetown University this afternoon. Georgetown was a not a team to be taken lightly. They put up a tough fight, but we managed to squeak by with a 1-0 win. Jordan Martin had her fifth goal of the season, and Liz Messaros earned the shutout in the cage.Congrats to everyone on the win today and lets use this as momentum for the rest of the week!

The busy week continues with a game Wednesday afternoon at Ellen Ryan Field against cross-town rivals Villanova. We are looking for our first win on the new field! The day after we will be traveling the Amherst for a Friday game at UMass. This will be one of our hardest games thus far. We really need to work extra hard and win our second A-10 game. Friday's match is very crucial for our conference play. It won't be easy, but I believe we have what it takes to pull off an upset. Here we go Hawks! 

-Ellen


Rowe: Home is Where the Games Are

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by Ellen Rowe

Saturday afternoon was what the SJU field hockey team has been waiting for for four years. FINALLY we had our very first home game since 2007.  Drexel graciously allowed us to play our home games on their turf the past three and a half seasons, but we were very thankful to be home.

No one truly knows the feeling experienced by all the girls on the team that day. It started in the locker room. Before, we used to get ready and get on the bus to travel to home games. Now, we have more time to have team meetings. Being able to line up in the lobby and walk down the path to the field was something none of us ever experienced before. To us, it was a luxury that others take for granted.

As we began warming up, we noticed the crowd. The first to show were our parents, accustomed to coming early to every game. Then the students, faculty and other fans began trickling in. For many students, they had never seen a collegiate hockey game at SJU. None of us have ever played in front of a crowd like that before. It may have not been that big to some people, but to us it was amazing. The cheering from the stands is what I will most remember about my first game on Ellen Ryan Field. Hearing people pulling for you really gives you more of an edge in the game. Scoring three goals in a two-minute span was something that I also credit to the fanbase in addition to our hard work. Hearing the reaction from people was so exciting. In the past, we always played for ourselves, our coaches and our parents. Now we have our student body. That support is something we are very happy to finally have.

The astonishing loss on Saturday was a lesson learned the hard way. It was a crazy game, and no one would have thought it would end the way it did. It just goes to show that no matter how big the lead you can never let your guard down. Its a battle all the way to the end. And with that being said, Thursday at 4 p.m. we will take on 12th-ranked Cal. And it you can bet that we will be fighting all the way 'til the last buzzer. Time for redemption. 

Thank you to everyone who came out last weekend. It was very much appreciated and we hope to see the same turnout Thursday! GO HAWKS!

-Ellen


Walsh: Coming Home

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by Rachel Walsh

Can you say "winning streak?!"

I'm so proud of my Hawks for pulling out a win this past Sunday. We need this momentum to keep us moving forward, especially since we're returning home this Saturday for our first HOME GAME in almost four years!!

We dominated the whole 70 minutes against Lehigh, which is something we can't say about previous games. We came together, focused on what we needed to do, and executed. Our offensive cutting and presenting to the ball allowed us to easily pass through Lehigh's defense and create many opportunities. Although we created a lot of good forward movement, we still need to capitalize more often to score more. For the most part we executed offensive corners as well, and Meghan Githens scored her first goal of the season off of a great corner tip.  Congrats, Meg!

On the defensive end of things, we stepped up in front of the opposing offense and pressed extremely well, so we were able to keep them to only a few counter attacks. Another order of congratulations: Liz Messaros also had her first shutout of the year!

I thought we really came together last weekend and last week at practice, which yielded our success. From the girls on the field to the girls on the sideline, there was a composure about us. We supported each other when things were rough and we came through it on top with a win.

This week at practice we're focusing on circle defense and offensive movement so we can be successful on Saturday against Delaware and finally show SJU fans what we've got! We're so excited to be coming home to St. Joe's and to keep our winning streak going!

Look forward to seeing you all this weekend!

-Rachel

Rowe: Into the Win Column!

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Congratulations to the SJU field hockey team for pulling off a big win this afternoon! The team had a long week of practice to prepare for today's game against Penn. The win was much anticipated after a rough start to the season. There were many emotions going into today's game. Last season was a very controversial game in which we lost in overtime to our local rivals. We started the week of practice knowing we wanted to get revenge.

After reviewing our past games, we realized we had a lot to work on before our next match. In practice this week, we focused on 2-v-1 drills to help us work on our ball movement and cuts off the ball. In addition, the defense worked on perfecting defensive corners. This was showcased during the game in which Penn had several corners and didn't capitalize on any. Great job, defense! Offensively, we worked on tracking the ball toward our defenders before laying a pass to a teammate and penetrating the circle as soon as we pass our offensive 25-yard-line. Once in the circle, we practiced taking quick shots on the cage and being prepared to receive the rebounds. Our mindset coming into today's game was to have a positive attitude and believe in each other. We were confident we could apply all of the skills we worked on during training this week and come out on top.

One of our goals was to score first in an attempt to shake the other team and get ahead quickly. We succeeded in doing so, capitalizing on our first corner off of a precise stick stop by Rachel Walsh and a beautiful sweep from Theresa Testa back to me at the insert. The Hawks didn't stop here. We continued with the momentum by scoring on another corner with a sweep from Testa and tip into the cage by Jordan Martin. It was 2-0 Hawks going into the second half. We were all excited to be in the lead, but we knew it wasn't enough. We knew Penn would fight to the end so we couldn't let up. Ashlee Willis had a nice reverse sweep into the cage to make the score 3-0 SJU with only a few minutes remaining in the half. Unfortunately, Penn counterattacked, adding one goal to make the final score 3-1 Hawks. Liz Messaros and the defense played a great game, holding off several shot attempts by our opponents.

Overall, it was a great team effort by all and I am proud of everyone! Let's keep this momentum going into the rest of the season, as we get ready to take on Lehigh next weekend! Keep working hard and believing in each other. Good job girls!

-Ellen

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

 

Wrublesky: Big Week Ahead

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Thumbnail image for Wrublesky_9694.JPGby Jen Wrublesky

Unfortunately we didn't get the outcome we wanted today against Temple, but overall our team played very well.  We played with a lot of heart and except for one lapse, we played the entire game.  It was a pretty well-matched game, and we had some close opportunities in our offensive circle.  Unfortunately we were unable to capitalize and put the ball in the net when we needed it most.

I am happy with our team's performance today.  We were focused and had more of an edge in our one-on-one match ups.  We also had some really nice moments of possession passing.  We can't hang our heads after today's performance since we have a tough week ahead and all but one of our conference games left.  We play Villanova Wednesday at home and although it's not an A-10 game, it is still one of the biggest games of the year.  After the Holy War on Wednesday, we have West Chester on Friday and La Salle on Sunday.  The A-10 season has just begun.  I think this heartbreaker has the potential to fire the team up for Wednesday.

Jen

Wrublesky: Temple Tomorrow!

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Wrublesky_9694.JPGby Jen Wrublesky

Tomorrow we play Temple and begin conference play!  We have had a pretty tough schedule this season, and a win is essential for not only our conference record and our path to the Atlantic 10 Championship, but also for team morale.  Both teams are coming off some pretty tough losses, which means that this game has even more at stake than the normal SJU-Temple rivalry. 

Our team goals for conference play include playing the full 70 minutes of a game, scoring first and scoring early, maintaining focus throughout the entire game, communication, and finding that "competitive edge."  Luckily our team is back in full force and recovered from some mid-season injuries.

This week at practice we concentrated on offense, perfecting our circle play, and working on our transitions.  Tuesday was a long day of practice out in the cold rain, but the team was very dedicated and remained focused throughout practice.  Wednesday was dedicated to competition and overtime play, and today we perfected our penalty strokes and corners.  

The mood on the team is one of excitement; the upperclassmen realize how much is at stake and how high the emotions will run tomorrow during the game.  It will be good for the freshmen to see how much A-10s mean and what our team is really all about.  Tomorrow will be a nice change to start out by playing Temple, rather than waiting to play them our last game of the regular season.  It is vital for our team to come out with a victory tomorrow, both for team morale and to start off with some forward momentum in the conference.  It is hard to believe that this is my last regular season game against Temple!  We just need to come out early and hard and not let up for even one minute against the Owls.

As Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning.  Keeping together is progress.  Working together is success."

Let's go Hawks!
Jen

Swanick: Fairfield Postgame, Looking Ahead to A-10 Play

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Thumbnail image for Swanick_9711.JPGby Kelly Swanick

Today's game was a tough loss, but all we can do is look forward from here.  The past ten games have technically been part of our season but our true season begins Friday; the Atlantic 10 schedule begins.  That means our record now is 0-0, we start fresh, and we have the capability to do great things from here on out.  Our schedule thus far has consisted of several nationally ranked teams, who although we have lost to, have only helped prepare us for Friday and for the rest of the season.

There is no point in dwelling on the past, what we could have or should have done. We have three practices coming up that are crucial to our mental and physical game in preparation for Temple on Friday. As a team we still need work on communication in all areas of the field as well as capitalizing and finishing in the circle.  Our A-10 season will not be easy; every single game is an obstacle and an opportunity for advancement to the A-10 tournament. I believe in this team and our capability to do great things in the games ahead.  This is our year to shine, as seven seniors start, and I believe we can make it happen!

Together We Soar,
Kelly

Swanick: Heading to Fairfield

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Swanick_9711.JPG
by Kelly Swanick

October is here and Atlantic 10 season is rapidly approaching full force; where has the time gone?  I am very excited that we are traveling up to Connecticut on Saturday rather than just leaving Sunday; we have not been on a road trip since VCU, so everyone is excited to get away for a little. Saturday night's team dinner is also fun, especially if we go to Olive Garden (our favorite spot).

Sunday's game is a big game for us mentally, as it is also our last non-conference game before we play Temple next Friday. We have had a whole week of practice focusing on possession, defense on the entire field and communicating with each other. We have had some injuries catching up with the team this week, so it was great seeing the players that don't normally get to start really rise to the occasion and fill in the gaps.

I am a little nervous for the game on Sunday. I am excited to play, as we had the whole week off, but I think it is very important for the Hawks to get a win this weekend so we can begin A-10 play with a level of confidence in ourselves and each other.  We need to play strong and smart the entire 70 minutes for us to be successful.

School work is really beginning to pile up as midterms are just around the corner. It was nice this week having a regular practice schedule without midweek games to balance out the work load, but once A-10 games start, the craziness of missing classes and traveling begins. Fridays are going to be the worst; I think I am missing my 1:00 p.m. class every Friday in October.  Yikes!  Most teachers will work with you though if you give them notice in advance, which is extremely helpful.

This weekend Fairfield is hosting "Play 4 the Cure" for Breast Cancer Awareness, so as a team we will be making a donation and wearing pink warm-up shirts before the game.  We have never really done anything like this before, but I think it is a great idea and a nice way to support the cause.

Together We Soar,
Kelly

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