#9 Field Hockey Earns First NCAA Tournament Victory with 3-1 Win Over #10 Wake Forest

Saint Joseph's field hockey team won 3-1 over #10 Wake Forest in the First Round of the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship.

Saint Joseph's field hockey team celebrates first NCAA tournament victory

Photo credit: Andy Mead

Three unanswered goals led the ninth-ranked Saint Joseph's field hockey team to a 3-1 win over #10 Wake Forest in the First Round of the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship at Karen Shelton Stadium on Friday.

The Hawks will meet #1 North Carolina in the quarterfinals on Sunday at noon.


  • The Hawks had some early possession, but it was Wake Forest (15-6) that got on the board first through Sky Caron on a penalty corner early in the first.
  • After the Demon Deacons had another prime opportunity midway through the quarter, the Hawks took it the other way and leveled the score. Hailey Bitters brought the ball down the right wing and fired a centering pass into the circle, where Celeste Smits was there for the finish.
  • Saint Joseph's (16-4) took the lead in the first minute of the second quarter as Lily Santi inserted a corner to Freke van Tilburg, who sent it right back for the near post finish and a 2-1 lead.
  • Wake Forest maintained the majority of possession in the second half, including a 4-0 edge in penalty corners and a 7-1 advantage in shots, but Manu Ghigliotti made that one shot count as she took a pass from Katelyn Cocco and fired a rocket into the bottom corner of the cage with 4:40 to play to double the lead.
  • The Demon Deacons pulled their goalkeeper for an extra attacker, but the Hawk defense held firm to see out the win and punch SJU's ticket to the quarterfinals.


  • The win is the first NCAA Tournament victory in Saint Joseph's program history. It is also the first NCAA Tournament win for any non-basketball team at Saint Joseph's since 1974 (baseball).
  • Robin Bleekemolen was outstanding in the cage for the Hawks, making four saves in the second half and five for the day. Ellie Todd made one stop for Wake Forest.
  • The Demon Deacons held a 13-5 advantage in shots and a 7-2 lead in penalty corner opportunities.


"Today's success came with a ton of hard work and dedication going back many, many years of Hawk Hockey," head coach Hannah Prince said. "This group has blown me away with its discipline, grit, and unity. To make program history with this team is an unbelievable feeling; I am so proud of them and my assistant coaches. We are excited to get back on the field Sunday for the Elite Eight game against the Tar Heels. Thank you to our St. Joe's fans; we are not done yet!"


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