Women's Soccer Opens Season Sunday Versus American
Aug. 18, 2012
PHILADELPHIA - For the Saint Joseph's women's soccer team there is one goal for the 2012 season, make the Atlantic 10 Championship. With the field extended to eight teams this year with the addition of Butler and VCU, the Hawks are poised to return to the conference playoffs after barely missing the past few seasons.
Working towards that goal begins this Sunday as the Hawks open the season at home against American at 1 p.m. at Finnesey Field.
"Everything we have been working on since the end of last season has been how can we get back to the Atlantic 10 Championship," said head coach Jess Reynolds. "We have a good core group of returning veterans and the incoming class gives us the most depth that we have had."
Amongst the returning starters, reigning A-10 Midfielder of the Year, junior Mo Hawkins, comes off a season in which she led the Hawks in points and tied for the team lead in goals. In just two years, Hawkins has proven to be one of the top offensive players in team history, entering the year fifth all-time in points (42) and poised to add to her impressive resume.
With Hawkins play shifting between midfield and forward at times, Reynolds believes a trio of upperclassmen will help fill starting spots. Senior Ali Yozwiak and juniors Megan Duffy and Shannon Farrell proved a knack for scoring and should contribute greatly to the Hawks' attack.
Adding to that, sophomores Cailyn Alfieri, Alicia de la Rosa and Kersten Formento and freshmen Shannon Westhead, Erica Graziosi Ashley Volm, Olivia McEachern and Morgan Michon will challenge for playing time.
Gaining valuable experience, junior co-captain Emily Irons is coming off a career-best 17 games played, and teamed with sophomore transfer Jill Root should solidify the Hawks' midfield. An NEC All-Rookie Team honoree, Root comes to Hawk Hill after starting 11 games at Mount St. Mary's and tallying two goals and four assists.
Possessing the most veteran of position, the Hawks' backline returns several key players, led by graduate student and co-captain Kayleigh Summers. Appearing in all 18 games, Summers helped the Hawks to a combined seven shutouts last season.
The only rookie to start every game in 2011, sophomore McHale Perkins joins senior Taylor Mallory, juniors Nicole King, Morgan Circe, Lindsey King, sophomore Carly D'Esposito Katie Beattie, Kelsey Marchesano and freshman Lindsay Horst in giving SJU its most talented defense grouping in years.
In net, senior Christine Neal and Lauren Jancuska will battle for the starting time. The duo shared time in goal in 2011 and a 0.94 goals against average. Freshman Allison Ebling will compete for time in the Hawks' most competitive spot.
With the goal of making the postseason set for this year's Hawks, Reynolds believes the work ethic and desire to win makes this year's club on the verge of accomplishing that goal.
"Our team is very focused and they are going to play a relentless style. We're going to fight for every loose ball and give ourselves the opportunity to succeed," said Reynolds.