June 10, 2008
PHILADELPHIA - Playing with a youthful lineup throughout the season, the Saint Joseph's women's soccer team saw a pair of rookies lead the way for the offense, while at the other end, sophomore Megan Bastianelli set the Hawks' single-season save mark.
Saint Joseph's opened the 2007 season on the right foot, thanks in part to freshman Carly Salter and Bastianelli. Behind the first collegiate goal by Salter and a game-high five saves from Bastianelli, the Hawks posted a 1-0 win at Finnesey Field over city-rival Drexel. The victory marked the first time since the 2001 season that the Hawks opened the year with a victory.
After dropping its first road contest of the year at Delaware, Saint Joseph's bounced back at home, posting another 1-0 victory, this time over Robert Morris. Freshman Lauren Sawyer's goal in the 17th minute held up for the Hawks as Bastianelli posted her second shutout of the season, making six saves in the win.
Having posted a 2-1 record to start, Saint Joseph's dropped its next five contests to arguably some of the top teams in the region. The Hawks, who got goals from Salter, sophomore defender Sarah O'Malley and freshman midfielder Raeann Groves over that stretch, finished the nonconference portion of their schedule 2-6 overall, but went undefeated (2-0) at home.
Losing their top four scoring options to graduation the previous spring, including 2006 Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year Ali Wean, the Hawks opened conference play slowly, being shut out consecutively by Massachusetts, Xavier and eventual A-10 champion Charlotte.
Hosting Saint Louis, the Hawks jumped out to an early 1-0 lead behind a goal by senior defender Kelly Galen. But the Billikens tallied three straight, before Saint Joseph's sophomore Danielle Debernardo cut the deficit to 3-2 in the final 15 minutes. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they were unable to tally another goal as they dropped their fourth consecutive conference game.
Following losses to La Salle and Fordham, Saint Joseph's superb goalkeeping, exacting shots, and solid defense led to a 2-0 win over St. Bonaventure that snapped an 11-game winless streak.
Sawyer opened up the scoring just over five minutes into the game, while junior Laura Adams scored her first goal of the year to push the lead to 2-0. Between the pipes, Bastianelli posted her third shutout of the season, making five saves to help SJU to its first A-10 win of the year.
Facing Atlantic 10 Championship participants Duquesne and Richmond, Saint Joseph's offense again was held in check, as the Hawks were held scoreless in both losses.
After falling to George Washington in the final road game of the season, the Hawks returned home to cap their schedule versus Temple. In a highly-contested game that saw both teams combine for 24 shots, 90 minutes wasn't enough as regulation ended tied at zero. Making three saves in the 0-0 double-overtime draw, Bastianelli set the SJU single-season mark for saves with 138.
Despite its final record, Saint Joseph's is poised for better things in the coming seasons. Returning nine starters and a slew of veteran reserves, the Hawks are set to end their two-year postseason drought in 2008.