The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

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

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
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Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Making history

Senior Grace Bendon punts the ball downfield in a game against Bucknell (Photo courtesy of SJU Athletics).

Grace Bendon sets school record in wins

St. Joe’s women’s soccer senior goalkeeper Grace Bendon is now unmatched.

After the team’s win on Sunday over Cornell University, Bendon now holds the women’s soccer school record for career wins with 23. After sitting down with Bendon though, there would be no way of knowing.

“Honestly, I had no idea that I was even close,” Bendon said. “The bigger goal for me is to win the A-10 for the team. I don’t think there is pressure from wanting to break the record, it is more that if we do what we have to do, everyone gets an accomplishment.”

Off the field, Bendon keeps a nonchalant demeanor.

“They say goalkeepers are crazy,” Bendon said. “I’m pretty even keel for the most part. I think it’s funny when I do step on the field, people that haven’t seen me play are always surprised how vocal I am.”

On the field, Bendon assumes her role as a captain and is one of the players the Hawks turn to for leadership.

Junior goalkeeper Cameron Perrot said Bendon is constantly leading the team in cheers and hyping everyone up before the game.

“On the field she is very demanding,” Perrot said. “She wants the best out of everyone. She knows when you are at your best and when you are not so she is always trying to get people to that next level. She is a good teammate because it is all from the heart.”

As both a veteran presence and the last line of defense, Bendon holds a lot of responsibility on the field. The importance of having someone as steady as Bendon in the net is not lost on Head Coach Jess Mannella.

“She changes the entire level of our game” Mannella said. “To be able to have confidence in your keeper allows us to control a lot of numbers in our attack. On defense, we can let shots come from further out because we know that she can handle it. We can play a certain way because she is so good.”

As she enters her senior year, Bendon cannot believe how special her journey has been. She struggled to find another moment in her life to compare to playing for St. Joe’s.

“There is no comparison,” Bendon said. “From top to the bottom, from the teammates up to the coaches, the friendships, the lessons, the soccer. The wins and the excitement and the downs where we experienced heartbreak, I would never compare it to anything else I have ever experienced.”

Bendon is now in her final season. With the end of her career looming, there is some added pressure to make this season the most successful one yet.

“It is important to me because I think our class has worked really hard,” Bendon said. “When we came in, almost all of us started and got a lot of minutes. Not even just for me individually, but our class has worked super hard and we think we have had a huge role in turning the program around. We would love to go out on a very high note.”

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