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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

Taking back the A10 throne

The field hockey team celebrates with their trophy after defeating VCU 1-0 in the A10 Championship. PHOTOS: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

The St. Joe’s field hockey team is once again the Atlantic 10 (A10) Champion.

After advancing to the championship game with a 8-1 semifinal throttling of the Richmond University Spiders, the Hawks earned the crown with a 1-0 defeat over Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) on Nov. 6 at Ellen Ryan Field. 

Though the Hawks have earned the league title in four of the last five seasons, the 2021 Hawks are a uniquely special group because they have fostered chemistry among the many new players on the roster, according to Head Coach Lynn Farquhar.

“They’ve been through so much in such a short time,” Farquhar said. “About 50 percent of our team is new. They’re new to going through an entire season. Some are new to the States and the college experience. It’s so cool to see them gel and have fun and play some great hockey.”

According to Farquhar, the team’s new players have been committed to learning the team’s style.

“The players have been willing to invest in that process,” Farquhar said. “Our system and our style of play have improved every week.”

The lone goal of this championship game was scored 32 minutes into the game by junior forward Anna Miller, who secured the rebound off of a missed shot and struck the ball into the net. According to Miller, being in the right position to convert missed shots into scoring opportunities is a point of emphasis for the team.

“We always talk about framing the cage,” Miller said. “It was just a bouncy ball in the circle and the goalie got a stick on it, but I was just there and got it in.”

Players share a range of emotions after winning the A10 Championship.

The Rams’ offense was restricted to only two shots on goal over the entire contest, often stifled by the St. Joe’s defenders when they had the ball in the final third of the field. The Hawks’ defensive effort was anchored by junior center back Freke van Tilburg, who was named the tournament’s most outstanding player after the game. 

Despite the contrast in shots on goal, van Tilburg said the Rams’ two midfielders, graduate students Maite and Svea Sturm, presented a challenge that the Hawks worked to respond to. 

“They were a technical team and that’s always hard to defend,” van Tilburg said. “Our communication was on point, so I think that helped us.”

Earlier in the season, the Hawks were tested by a non-conference slate that included nationally ranked opponents University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University, Rutgers University and three-time defending champion University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Those games helped the Hawks develop an identity on the field that showed itself against VCU, according to van Tilburg.  

“Some games were harder, some games were easier, but you have to play your own style and your own game,” van Tilburg said. “I think we did that today and that’s why we won.” 

Playing in front of a home crowd at Ellen Ryan Field, where the team boasts a 38-4 record over the past five seasons, also provided the team an advantage, according to Farquhar. 

“It was a good turnout,” Farquhar said. “Seeing all the fans and students here makes a big difference.”

The Hawks, riding a six game win streak, will look to win its first NCAA tournament game in program history in its Nov. 12 matchup against Liberty University. Van Tilburg has confidence in the team.

“We’re definitely ready,” van Tilburg said.

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