NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Helping the Saint Joseph’s women’s soccer team to its first berth in the Atlantic 10 Championship since 2005, a trio of Hawks garnered conference honors, A-10 officials announced on Wednesday. For the second straight season, junior Mo Hawkins (Philadelphia, Pa./Cardinal Dougherty) was chosen Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year in a vote of the league’s coaches, and joined senior goalkeeper Christine Neal (Hockessin, Del./Alexis I Du Pont) on the A-10 All-Conference First Team. Additionally, freshman Olivia McEachern (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek) was named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team.
“We are thrilled that Mo, Christine and Olivia were recognized and are proud of everything they have done to help our team succeed,” said head coach Jess Reynolds.
Spearheading the Hawks’ offense for the third consecutive year, Hawkins has paced SJU with a team-best 19 points and eight goals this season. Currently tied for eighth in the A-10 in both categories, she has added three assists as well and enters this week’s A-10 Championship third in SJU history in points (61) and goals (25). Hawkins joins Hailey Beam of Charlotte as the only two-time winner of the A-10 Midfielder of the Year honor and is the only SJU player to ever garner All-Conference honors three times.
“Mo came into this season with determination to help the team succeed,” Reynolds said. “She has continued to be a threat coming out of the midfield and has played stellar in the back when we needed her to.”
Posting a career year between the pipes, Neal is the first Hawk goalkeeper to be named to the A-10 All-Conference First Team. Playing every minute this season, she has recorded a career-best 9-6-4 record to go with seven shutouts. Currently seventh overall in goals against average (1.04), Neal led the A-10 during conference play with a 0.41 goals against average and a .930 save percentage. Already SJU’s all-time leader in saves (295), she is currently third all-time in wins (20) and second in shutouts (15).
“Christine had a breakout season this year and we are very happy she was recognized for her play,” said Reynolds. “She has works very hard over the past four years and is an excellent leader of our defense.”
Playing in 18 games and making four starts, McEachern is the eighth Hawk to be named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team. On the season, McEachern tallied the game-winning goal in SJU’s 2-0 victory over Rhode Island and added an assist against Hartford. Currently sixth on the team in shots (six), her growing experience has helped SJU make the postseason for the first time in seven seasons.
“Olivia has gained confidence during the Atlantic 10 portion of the season and has been really dangerous for us in our attack,” said Reynolds. “We love her tenacity on offense and her ability to challenge opposing defenders.”
Saint Joseph’s (9-6-4) begins play in the A-10 Championship this Thursday when the sixth-deed Hawks face third seed VCU at 7:30 p.m. at the URI Soccer Complex. The match will be streamed for free at www.atlantic10.com.