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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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Women’s soccer rides hot streak to A10 semifinal

The team celebrates after their win over VCU. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ATLANTIC 10.

The St. Joe’s women’s soccer team slayed the beast that had been a thorn in their side for years. 

After going winless in their first nine games of the season and not scoring a goal in the first seven, the Hawks won six of their last 11 games and made a run to the Atlantic 10 (A10) semifinals on Nov. 5. According to Head Coach Jess Mannella, her team never lost sight of their potential.

“We felt like we were in those games,” Mannella said. “Even though we hadn’t scored, we still felt like we were in these games.”

Mannella said the beginning of A10 play gave the team a much needed second chance after a slow start.

“The best part about conference play is you’re 0-0 again,” Mannella said. “So we just talked to our team and said we are good enough. The only people we need to believe in us are the 34 people [on the team]”

According to senior defender and team captain Erica Behr, the team’s mentality of taking things one game at a time did not change during their early season struggles.

“It was definitely hard not scoring and not winning,” Behr said. “But in each game, we knew as a team that we were getting better and we were improving to reach our goals.”

Behr said keeping a positive mindset  was an important part of righting the ship in the second half of the season.

“I think the biggest thing was to just keep working, just to lead by example and show up for practice every day ready to work,” Behr said.

According to sophomore midfielder Nicole Angelini, the team always felt like their breakthrough was right around the corner.

“I don’t think there was ever a moment where our team ever thought we couldn’t win, even when we weren’t scoring or winning,” Angelini said.

The Hawks’ hot streak in conference play led to an A10 tournament matchup against undefeated Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Angelini said the senior class’ leadership benefitted the team as they headed into the A10 tournament.

“There is not a single captain, or even senior, that didn’t help us,” Angelini said. “I think their leadership and their mentality the whole season was a big part of why we were able to start getting some goals and start winning some games”

The Hawks pulled off the upset, winning 1-0. The win was a big one for the team, as VCU had knocked them out of the A10 tournament in their previous two appearances in 2017 and 2018. 

According to Behr, the game meant more to the seniors, who were members of the 2018 team that lost to VCU in the conference semifinals.

“It definitely was a full circle moment,” Behr said. “We realized we had an opportunity to just put that in the past and move forward and try and play for a championship.”

Despite losing in the next round to the University of Massachusetts 2-0, Mannella said overcoming that hurdle was an amazing feeling for both her and her players.

“In the past we’ve lost to VCU in the semis and they crushed our dreams,” Mannella said. “It was obviously a very big win for the program.”


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