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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

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

St. Joe’s field hockey historic season comes to a close

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St. Joe’s field hockey celebrates their Atlantic 10 Championship. PHOTO: LUKE MALANGA ’20/ THE HAWK

The St. Joe’s field hockey team fell to the University of Michigan 3-2 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 9. The loss snapped a 14-game winning streak and ended the most successful season in program history.

Though the Hawks came into this game with the better record, 18-3, they were ranked lower than the University of Michigan, who came in with a 14-7 record. Michigan played 12 ranked opponents this season, largely due to the strength of their conference, while St. Joe’s only played three. The Big 10 sent five teams to the tournament while St. Joe’s was the sole Atlantic 10  representative.

This disparity in experience against high-end competition  played a pivotal role on NCAA field hockey’s biggest stage.

“Ranking wise we were really close,” Head Coach Lynn Farquhar said. “However, when you are able to play against speed and ranked opponents every week there is an experience that comes along with it. When you are familiar with the energy around the tournament it becomes second nature. We are really close but we aren’t there yet.”

The Hawks will lose some key players next season. Senior back Joely Helder, senior midfielder Monica Tice and the program’s all-time leading scorer senior forward Anna Willocks will all graduate.     

Farquhar said these three players have all played key roles in growing the field hockey program into what it is today.

“The team really rallied behind this group,” Farquhar said. “They have been through so much and have been the foundation for our program the past four years. For me, it is bittersweet because they are like my own kids. But you do want to see them grow and they are ready to move on.”

Next season, the St. Joe’s field hockey program remains talented, largely due to the play of freshman forward Tonya Botherway. Botherway scored both goals against Michigan, a fitting end to a season that saw her finish third all-time in goals scored in a single season with 23.

“It has been a really good season for me,” Botherway said. “I am just lucky to have the opportunity to play on one of the top teams in the country. That is why I get those results.”

Being able to experience moments like the NCAA Tournament and playing against elite programs will prepare the team for next season. Farquhar hopes this continued success becomes the norm for the program.

“Hopefully we continue to carry a standard,” Farquhar said. “A level we are committed to and live up to every day. That has been a stepping stone we have been working on five years now.”

Botherway hopes their experience this year will help them if they return to the NCAA Tournament next season.

“If we put ourselves in this position again we won’t go in nervous,” Botherway said. “I think we will have confidence from having been there before.”

Despite the season ending a couple games earlier than she wanted, Farquhar is still proud of how her team performed.

“It was an outstanding season,” Farquhar said. “We had great senior leaders. We were so hardworking and winning a second A-10 title is a huge accomplishment. But for every team but one, it ends in a loss so I am really proud of this group.”

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