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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Cabrini athletes find new opportunities with St. Joe’s club teams

Shauna Stotler ’25 behind the plate for Cabrini at NCAAs in Boston last season.
PHOTO COURTESY: SHAUNA STOTLER ’25
Shauna Stotler ’25 behind the plate for Cabrini at NCAAs in Boston last season. PHOTO COURTESY: SHAUNA STOTLER ’25

Softball player Shauna Stotler ’25 woke up to many missed texts and a link to an article. Cross country runner Jeff Issac ’25 found out in the summer after a semester of working to start a men’s volleyball program. Swimmer and cross country runner Adriana Pietrewicz ’25 first heard it in a rumor she hoped was not true. Two weeks later, it was confirmed: Cabrini University was closing. Their athletic careers were now in jeopardy.

Students received an email from the school later in the day informing them of what they had already learned online.

On June 23, Villanova University and Cabrini University issued a statement that Cabrini University would be closing its doors as an institution following the 2023-24 school year. The two schools have a tentative agreement for Villanova to purchase the campus and work to continue carrying out Cabrini’s mission there.

In a statement released June 28, St. Joe’s offered Cabrini students what the university called the “ideal transition option”: guaranteed admission, a tuition match and a full-credit transfer. Still, there was no word on what would happen to Cabrini’s 19 NCAA Division III teams and their athletes.

Pietrewicz said she convinced herself it was not happening when she first heard rumors of the university’s closure.

“I remember telling my dad about it,” Pietrewicz said. “My dad was like, ‘Every school is going through the same thing. You don’t have to worry about that.’”

Stotler said she felt similar doubt when she was first informed.

“I didn’t want to believe that it was true,” Stotler said. “I suddenly thought, ‘What am I going to do now?’”

Many were left with the same question as Stotler, and with limited time to answer it.

“It was a sad atmosphere for a week at least, trying to figure out everything,” Pietrewicz said.

Issac felt a special sympathy for the first-year students who committed to play on Cabrini’s newest team.

“They didn’t get notified about anything until they already put the deposit down,” Issac said. “It was a bit saddening for them in a way because they only had so much of a window of time to then go to another school to play.”

The men’s volleyball team was not the only group of athletes who felt blindsided by the news. Because the news came after the 2022-23 academic year, and after the spring seasons were over, many students played their last games as a Cavalier without knowing.

“I wasn’t ready for that to be my last game last season,” Stotler said. “I had no idea.”

For Issac, Pietrewicz and Stotler, their NCAA careers might have ended, but they found new opportunities with St. Joe’s club teams.

While Isaac was unable to play soccer at Cabrini for a number of reasons, Issac has found his way back to the sport due to the new doors that had opened with St. Joe’s club options.

“I actually play for St. Joe’s men’s [club] soccer team,” Issac said. “And it’s been working out pretty well since I played soccer when I was younger.”

After entering the transfer portal and weighing her options, Stotler said she felt St. Joe’s was the best fit.

“I took the risk of knowing that I might not play again,” Stotler said. “Then I talked to someone about the club teams. That definitely helped make my decision easier.”

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Mia Messina
Mia Messina, Sports Editor
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