Aug. 26, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Saint Joseph's women's soccer team returns its starting goalkeeper and top four scorers for the 2010 season as the Hawks look to return to the Atlantic 10 postseason for the first time in five year. Coming within a victory of the conference tournament a year ago, SJU begins its quest this Friday as they Hawks open the season at UC Santa Barbara on Friday.
The Hawks and Gauchos face off Friday at 8 p.m. EST, with live stats provided through Game Tracker.
"We are very excited for this years team. There is a lot more depth on the squad than we have in the past and that will help us playing two games in a weekend," said 10th-year head coach Jess Reynolds. "Our goal is to make it back to the Atlantic 10 tournament. We have just missed it the past two years and this year we feel we are good enough to make it."
While picked to finish 12th in the A-10, Saint Joseph's is poised to prove voters wrong as it returns 15 letterwinners, including seven starters.
Bolstering the Hawks' offense will be juniors Maggie Lupinski and Jen Pfeiffer, senior Lauren Sawyer and sophomore Ali Yozwiak. Despite missing games due to injury, Lupinski tallied a team-best six goals as a sophomore and led the team with 12 points.
Pfeiffer, the 2008 A-10 Rookie of the Year, is coming off a productive year that saw her score four goals and add an assist while being marked heavily by opposing defenses.
An All-Conference Second Team selection last year, Sawyer recorded three game-winning goals and added a team-best three assists in her most efficient year on Hawk Hill.
Coming off the bench for much of the year, Yozwiak adds a scoring threat and should press for starting time as a sophomore. She finished her rookie year fourth on the team in scoring (eight points) and goals (four).
Between the pipes, sophomore Christine Neal earned All-Rookie Team honors after posting four shutouts and a 1.14 goals-against-average. With a full season under her belt, Neal is expected to earn most of the starts, with rookie Lauren Jancuska challenging for time.
On defense, SJU lost two starters, but will be led by the talented Kayleigh Summers. Senior Kaitlyn Grimes brings experience with junior Steph Maurer and sophomore Taylor Mallory challenging for starting time.
The influx of 10 positional newcomers should give SJU the depth and talent it has lacked in past years. The Hawks welcome Morgan Duffy, Brianna Walsh, Nicole King, Devin Griffin, Mo Hawkins, Morgan Circe, Shannon Farrell, Courtney Paxson, Emily Irons and Lindsey King to the squad with expectations high for them and the team as a whole.
Having fallen just short of its goals in past years, Saint Joseph's is set to meet and exceed expectations in 2010.