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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

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Women’s soccer storms past Bucknell 5-1

Senior+forward+Dakota+Mills+battles+for+the+ball+against+a+Bucknell+defender+%28Photo+by+Luke+Malanga+%E2%80%9920%29.
Senior forward Dakota Mills battles for the ball against a Bucknell defender (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

Hawk’s offense proves too much for Bison’s defense

Puddles formed as the rain poured down onto Sweeney Field. The sound of water droplets striking the steel bleachers almost drowned out the sound of the game being played. If one thing was for certain, there weren’t any fair-weather fans in attendance.

The St. Joe’s women’s soccer team rewarded the home crowd by unleashing a downpour of goals on Bucknell University, giving them a 5-1 win. The Hawks seemingly thrived in the rain and junior forward Gabrielle Vagnozzi credits that to their preparation earlier in the week.

“The weather had been like this all week,” Vagnozzi said. “During our last game the weather was bad, so we treated this game the same way.”

Coming into this game, Bucknell was one of the top defensive teams in the country. The Bisons had only given up seven goals through their first seven games.

This didn’t stop the Hawks from getting off to a hot start though. They broke through in just the fourth minute.

“We knew that we needed to start with intensity,” senior forward Hannah Racis said. “I think we did a good job at the start of both halves coming out with energy.”

The scoring started when Racis sprinted down the wing and sent a shot on net from around the goal line. It surprised Bucknell’s goalkeeper and snuck past her into the back of the net and gave the Hawks the early lead.

“Getting the first goal led into the rest of our offense,” Racis said. “Once you get one goal, the rest will follow. I think that it kept our intensity up and that energy drove the rest of our offense.”

The single goal stood for most of the first half before Bucknell was able to formulate an answer. Bucknell junior Gabby Blair cut into the middle of the field and beat senior goalkeeper Grace Bendon with a shot to even the score going into halftime.

The score was even through the first half. but St. Joe’s remained confident. They had faith in their ability to get the lead back.

“I think we are good at that,” Vagnozzi said. “Since I have been here we have always been a team that doesn’t put their heads down ever. We knew there was plenty of time left and we could push past it.”

Just like the clouds overhead, the Hawk’s offense opened up in the second half. Racis scored her second of the game to get the lead back in the 46th minute before Vagnozzi added on an insurance goal 12 minutes later.

Head coach Jess Mannella knew it was about time the team got rewarded on the scoresheet.

“We’ve had plenty of chances all season long,” Mannella said. “In soccer it can be a crazy sport sometimes. We knew that if we had patience that eventually the goals will come. So I wasn’t surprised that we had this type of game. We are very threatening in our attack, we just needed some patience.”

When it rains, it pours. Freshman Aleksa Peev and junior Kylie D’Ambra joined in and added on a few goals of their own to round out the Hawk’s dominating the second half. Coach Mannella credits this to the team’s ability to control the ball despite the poor weather conditions.

“We have been working all week on trying to keep the ball,” Melena said. “It has been huge for us and game to game we have gotten better. Today was the best, though, and to be able to keep the ball in these conditions is great.”

This victory improved the Hawk’s record to 4-1-2 on the year. St. Joe’s continues their home stand on Sept. 13 against rival Villanova University and on Sept. 16 against Cornell University.

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