Aug. 27, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - Having graduated arguably one of the best classes in program history, Saint Joseph's seventh-year head coach Jess Reynolds has confidence in her team to accomplish the same goal: compete for an Atlantic 10 Championship.
"This season is going to be a challenge for us as we graduated six starters that changed our program, but our expectations still remain high." Reynolds said. "A majority of our returning players have had A-10 Tournament experience and our incoming freshmen should make an immediate impact."
Coming off a record-setting 33 goals last year, Reynolds will press her Hawks to top that as Saint Joseph's will play a more aggressive style on offense this season.
"Our plan is to attack defenses and play a really high pressure style of play," said Reynolds. "We worked hard in the preseason to be mentally and physically tough and it should prove decisive on the field."
Leading the Hawks' offense this season will be senior co-captain Shannon Osborn. Coming off a productive junior year, Osborn is Saint Joseph's returning leader in goals (three) and points (six). Likely to start alongside Osborn at forward are juniors Laura Adams and Amanda Morrell and sophomore Danielle DeBernardo.
Playing in 15 games last season, including eight starts, Adams saw time at both forward and in the midfield, recording one goal. Saint Joseph's returning leader in assists (two), Morrell made the most of her first season with the Hawks. Seeing action in 11 games, Morrell earned six starts as a rookie. One of only four Hawks to play in all 18 games, DeBernardo had an impact as a freshman, tallying a goal and an assist as she split time between midfield and attack.
Challenging for time at forward this year will be senior Kristie-Anne Hoban, junior Lauren Stevis and freshmen Raeann Groves, Brooke Price and Lauren Sawyer. Last year, Hoban recorded a career-best three shots, while Stevis made steady improvement after suffering a season-ending injury as a freshman. Sawyer capped her high school career as the all-time leader in goals, assists and points at Smithtown East, while Groves finished as the third all-time leader in scoring at Old Lyme. Price, a two time All-New Jersey honoree, helped the Mount Laurel Strikers to two state titles.
After playing in all 20 games as a rookie, Bugnar posted a career-best three points over 17 games as a sophomore. The Newtown, PA, native added a goal and assist, earning six starts along the way for Saint Joseph's.
Appearing in 17 games last season as a freshman, Sutcliffe will likely improve upon her 11 starts. Tallying a goal and an assist in her first year at Saint Joseph's, Sutcliffe's playmaking ability should fill the gap left by last year's class.
A two-year starter after transferring from Lafayette, Galen has given SJU poise and balance at defense and was named co-captain for her leadership. Adding a strong shot and playmaking ability, O'Malley made an instant impact for the Hawks, scoring a goal and tallying three shots from the defensive position.
Between the pipes, senior Jen Kuhn and sophomore Megan Bastianelli will battle for the starting spot. Starting 14 games as a junior, Kuhn posted a team-high five wins and a 1.73 goals-against average. As a freshman, having started four games, Bastianelli went 2-3, while making 22 saves.
Having again slated one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the region, Reynolds believes playing a strong schedule will help her team come conference play.
"We have one of our most challenging non-conference schedules to date this year," said Reynolds. "We start out versus two tough teams in Drexel and Delaware that should tell us where we are at."
Saint Joseph's hopes that its tough scheduling will pay off in Atlantic 10 competition as the Hawks look to return to the A-10 Tournament, coming up short a season ago.
"The A-10 is going to be tough again this season," said Reynolds. "Last year's winner Saint Louis is going to be strong, as will the rest of the conference. We believe our strong play at the end of the season and hard work in the offseason should help us return to the postseason and compete for the Atlantic 10 title."