Saint Joseph’s Picked to Win the Atlantic 10 Again
August 22, 2023 –
It’s field hockey season and the Philly colleges are ready to compete. The Saint Joseph’s Hawks played in the postseason last season. They will begin this year as the favorites to win the Atlantic 10 for the third consecutive season. Let’s take a look at each of our Division 1 schools.
Saint Joseph’s Hawks
The preseason selection for the top spot in the Atlantic 10 getting 6 of 8 votes for first place. UMass and VCU got one first place vote each. Last season the Hawks swept the league and finished ranked #9 in the NFHCA Coaches Poll. The team recorded its first ever NCAA Tournament win beating Wake Forest.
Four players were selected to the Preseason All-Conference Team. Selected were: Midfielder Sol Borensztein, the 2021 A-10 Rookie of the Year and 2022 All-Championship Team selectee; Midfielder Katy Benton, who made the All-Conference First Team; forward Manu Ghigliotti who made All-Conference First Team; and Lily Santi, who was the conference Offensive Player of the Year and Championship Most Outstanding Player.
Santi was the team leading scorer with 18 goals and 45 points. Ghigliotti recorded double-figures in goals getting 10 and she assisted 4 times. Borensztein scored 4 goals with 2 being game-winners. Benton had 5 assists.
Saint Joe’s starts the season on August 25th at home against #15 UConn.
La Salle Explorers
Also in the Atlantic 10 the Explorers were picked for 6th place. Forward Tatum Johnson was selected to the Preseason All-Conference First Team. Johnson was an All-Conference First Team selectee. The forward scored 14 goals and 5 assists for a team-best 33 points in 2022.
Ryan Curley returns. She started 18 games in goal last season giving up 36 goals with a .687 save percentage.
The Explorers finished 2022 with an 8 – 11 record, 3 – 4 in the A-10. La Salle starts at Temple on August 25.
The Drexel Dragons who made the conference final last season came in tied for fourth place with the Northeastern Huskies in the preseason poll.
The preseason team was announced. Drexel senior forward Eline Di Leva was named to the first-team for the third consecutive season. She posted 10 goals and 3 assists in 2022. Also named to the first-team is graduate goal keeper Megan Hadfield who had a 1.98 goals against average turning away 67.5% of the shots she faced. Midfielder Liz Chipman was named Honorable Mention.
Drexel posted a 12 – 8 record, 3 – 3 in conference, last season. The Dragons fell in the conference final to the Delaware Blue Hens.
The season begins on August 25th when they host Bucknell at Buckley Field.
Playing in the BIG EAST in Field Hockey the Owls were selected to finish in fourth place in the league. Junior forward Tess Mueller made the Preseason All-Conference team. Last season: she scored 6 goals, and 10 assists, second on the team in both categories. Muller led the team with 22 points. Mueller started 18 of 19 games. Mueller was named to the All-Conference First Team, and was on the All-Championship Team.
Also returning are McKenna Burkhart and Myrth Schuilenburg. Burkhart, a back, led the team with 8 goals. Midfielder Schuilenburg scored 13 points, third-best for the team. Molly Frey returns in goal. In 2022 she allowed 24 goals, the fewest in program-history since 2007 for a 1.2 goals against average which ranked 15th in the NCAA.
The Cherry and White look to improve on their 13 – 6 record, 4 – 3 in the league.
La Salle is game one opponent on August 25th.
Villanova was picked for 6th place in the BIG EAST. The Wildcats had two players selected to the Preseason All-Conference Team, back Sabine De Ruijter and forward Meghan Mitchell. Both players were key to the Wildcats finishing with their best record in over a decade.
De Ruijter had 3 defensive saves to rank tied for 24th nationally. On offense the native of the Netherlands scored 7 goals and assisted 5 times for 19 points. Mitchell led the team in scoring with 9 goals and 4 assists for 22 points.
Other top scorers returning are midfielder/forward Anne Drabbe and forward Amanda Middleman. Drabbe was second on the team in points with 21. She had 3 goals and a team-high 15 assists. Middleman was second on the squad with 8 goals and fourth in scoring at 17 points.
Villanova is coming off an 11 – 6 season, 3 – 4 in league play. The Wildcats open on August 25th against Ball State at the Conshohocken Proving Grounds.
The University of Pennsylvania Quakers
This will be a challenging season for the Red and Blue as they will play six teams that ranked in the final Top-25 last season, and includes the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels. The teams meet in their first game of the ACC/Ivy League Crossover on September 1st.
For the first time in conference history there will be a four-team Ivy League Tournament to decide who will get the NCAA Automatic bid. Penn finished 7 – 10 last season and went 4 – 3 in the Ancient Eight, good enough to qualify if there was a tournament in 2022.
Penn will have two of their top scorers from 2002 returning. Leading in goals with 7 and 16 points is midfielder / defender Courtney Kenah. Also playing on Ellen Vagelos Field again is midfielder / forward Allison Kuzyk who recorded 6 goals and 1 assist for 13 points.
Two goal keepers who saw time last season return. The duo of Frederique Wollaert and Hayden Hayley combined for a 2.8 goals against average and a total of 83 saves giving up 33 goals. Wollaert played a majority of the time with 824.04 minutes.
Written By: Glenn Papazian