The Saint Joseph's field hockey team, ranked 17th in the NFHCA preseason coaches poll, opens up its 2019 season on Sunday afternoon at Hofstra. Prior to the start of the campaign, head coach Lynn Farquhar, now in her sixth year on the sidelines at SJU, shared some insight into what Hawk fans can expect out of this year's squad.
Each year brings a new group with new and different challenges, but what is the number one thing you hope to carry over from the success of the past few seasons into this one?
We call them "Hawk habits." They are small but mighty elements that represent our team character. If we can continue to shape and live these habits, that’s a huge strength that is passed on from our Hawk alumnae and our past teams.
What would you characterize as the Hawks' biggest strength, be it a specific element of the game or something off the field that makes the group better than the sum of its parts?
Our biggest strength is our collective willingness to work incredibly hard for the team. I’m excited to see this group combine speed, a strong passing game, and depth in 2019.
What has been your biggest focus as a team during the preseason?
We've focused on having courage: the courage to face new challenges both as individuals and as a collective team.
What are you looking forward to seeing from the Hawks this season? Who are the top candidates to have a breakout campaign in 2019?
We have a large senior class, and we'll rely on each of our seniors to demonstrate leadership. We want to have consistency in our intensity during training over the course of a season, and show how important it is for everyone to contribute their individual character and strengths to the greater team.
We have a pair of All-Americans in Victoria Kammerinke and Pepa Serrano, as well as [2018 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year] Tonya Botherway back this season to go with a large group returning student-athletes – we've only graduated four over the last two seasons. Our junior class is full of forwards that love to attack as well; but keep an eye on our freshman class, as we hope that some of them will impact our team right away.
This year's schedule is challenging, with six teams ranked in the national preseason poll. What is the overarching goal in scheduling such high-quality opposition?
We’ve all heard the saying: "If you want to be the best, you need to play the best." Our mission this year is courage, and that carries over into our schedule. We want to control what we can control and play as Hawks, and we'll see where that takes us.
Farquhar and the Hawks will take on the Pride at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at the Hofstra Field Hockey Stadium.