#9 Field Hockey earns first NCAA tournament win with 3-1 win over #10 Wake Forest

CHAPEL HILL, NC — Three unanswered goals saw ninth-placed Saint Joseph’s field hockey team beat #10 Wake Forest 3-1 in the first round of the NCAA Division I field hockey championship Friday at Karen Shelton Stadium.

The Hawks meet #1 North Carolina in the quarterfinals at 12 p.m. Sunday.

• The Hawks had some possession early on, but it was Wake Forest (15-6) who came on the board early in the first corner through Sky Caron in a penalty corner.

• After the Demon Deacons had another excellent opportunity midway through the quarter, the Hawks took advantage of the other end and equalized. Hailey Bitters brought the ball down the right wing and fired a center pass into the circle where Celeste Smits completed.

• Saint Joseph’s (16-4) took the lead in the first minute of the second period when Lily Santi curled a corner to Freke van Tilburg, who fired a close shot at the post and a 2-1 lead.

• Wake Forest retained most of the ball in the second half, including a 4-0 edge in penalty corners and a 7-1 lead on shots, but Manu Ghigliotti counted that one shot when she accepted a pass from Katelyn Cocco and one Shot fired shot into the bottom corner of the cage at 4:40 to double the lead.

• The Demon Deacons pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker, but the Hawk defense stood firm to seal the win and deny SJU their ticket to the Quarters.

• The win marks the first NCAA tournament win in Saint Joseph’s program history. It is also the first NCAA tournament win for a non-basketball team at Saint Joseph’s since 1974 (baseball).

• Robin Bleekemolen was outstanding for the Hawks in the cage, making four saves in the second half and five that day. Ellie Todd made a stop for Wake Forest.

• The Demon Deacons had a 13-5 lead in shots and a 7-2 lead in penalty corners.

“Today’s success was the result of a lot of hard work and dedication stretching back many, many years to Hawk Hockey,” said head coach Hannah Prince. “This group blew me away with their discipline, courage and unity. Writing program history with this team is an incredible feeling; I’m so proud of her and my assistant coaches. We’re excited to be back on the field for Sunday’s Elite Eight game against the Tar Heels. Thank you to our St. Joe’s fans; We are not finished yet!”

The Hawks meet ranked and undefeated hosts North Carolina at noon on Sunday. The winner advances to the national semifinals in Storrs, Connecticut.