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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Field hockey still hungry after No. 16 national ranking

The Hawks picked up their first two wins of the season over La Salle and Delaware. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

The St. Joe’s field hockey team’s strong start to the season has been a team effort. 

Senior forward and team captain Jordan Olenginski said that the delayed start to the season gave the team time to further their connection off the field, which has led to success on the field. 

“Not having games in the fall was helpful for us to grow as a team and to build those connections off the field,” Olenginski said. “Off the field, this is the closest that any team has been during my four years at St. Joe’s.”

With a record of 2-1, the Hawks have picked up wins over La Salle University and the University of Delaware, on their way to a No. 16 national ranking which is their 32nd consecutive appearance in the poll since September 2017. 

Head Coach Lynn Farquhar said being ranked is always exciting, but the team’s motivation should be found elsewhere.

“It’s encouraging because you can see your hard work is paying off,” Farquhar said. “However, I think this group is just excited to better themselves and the team.”

Farquhar said the team is competitive this season because underclassmen players have stepped up due to a supportive team culture built throughout the program.

“The goal is to get the best group out there that we can,” Farquhar said. “We need everybody to compete and share their strengths.”

Olenginski said the coaches emphasized that everyone on the roster has a role. The underclassmen in particular have adapted well and adjusted seamlessly to playing at the collegiate level, making them an instrumental part of the team’s success.

“They’re not timid or afraid,” Olenginski said. “It’s just the beginning for them, and they’re going to do awesome things for us this season.”

Two underclassmen already were recognized as conference standouts. Sophomore goalkeeper Robin Bleekemolen was named the Atlantic 10 (A-10) Defensive Player of the Week for March 16, and freshman midfielder Celeste Smits was named A-10 Rookie of the Week. 

But for Bleekemolen, this is just the start. She is thankful for her success, but like the rest of the team, still recognizes room for growth and improvement.

“I wouldn’t say yet that where I am right now is where I could be,” Bleekemolen said. “I still have a lot to prove and improve on.”

The team is drawing motivation from past Hawks teams as well. Bleekemolen said one reason for her success is what she learned from two-time All-American goalie Victoria Kammerinke ’20 last season.

“She was a great influence on me,” Bleekemolen said. “Her influence makes me want to succeed as much as she did.”

Farquhar said her players keep each other focused amid the challenges that the team has faced this season. 

“I’m really proud of their resiliency. They have come in with this positive mindset,” Farquhar said. “We’ve hit some hurdles and performance barriers. And with COVID, there’s been some unexpected hiccups in the road and they keep pushing through.”

Farquhar added that her team’s willingness to trust each other has been a big factor in their success. 

“What we’ve faced off the field has really helped this group,” Farquhar said. “This group decided that they wanted to improve as individuals, as teammates and that really helped us.”

Bleekemolen said the team has worked together to get through any setbacks they’ve faced and turned them into opportunities for growth.

“The ranking definitely motivates me,” Bleekemolen said. “It motivates everyone on the team to keep giving their best effort each day, on and off the field.”

Olenginski said she and her teammates thought they were ranked lower than they should have been and they are still on a mission to prove themselves.

“The ranking made us even hungrier going into the weekend playing Delaware,” Olenginski said. “Seeing the number 16 ranking makes us hungrier to prove that we are a better team than the ranking shows.”

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