For most senior year athletes, the 2009 season marks their fourth and final year in a Lions jersey. For senior forward Jess Falcone, this is only her third. The business management major tore her ACL at the end of the 2008 lacrosse season, resulting in her inability to play field hockey last fall.
“It was tough,” Falcone said. “But I learned a lot on the sidelines. I tried to go to all the practices and games. I picked up on things I wouldn’t have seen if I was on the field,” she said.
“We’ve got a great team this year. There are a lot of new faces which means new talent,” she said.The squad has many expectations. In a recent poll by the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), the College was picked to win the NJAC title this year. The Lions have clinched this title for the last three years, and hope to obtain it once again this season.
As successful as the team has been the past few seasons, one goal remains elusive. For the last three years, the team has failed to advance past the NCAA Regional Finals to earn a spot in the Final Four. Last year, they lost to Tufts University in the final two minutes, putting dreams of Final Four glory out of reach.
This year, the Lions are going to have to obtain their goals without leading goal- scorer and junior forward Leigh Mitchell, who tore her ACL during lacrosse season last year.
“When I found out I felt so bad because I had been there,” Falcone says. “But we’re all here for her and hope her recovery goes well.”
When she was sidelined with her injury, her teammates made her feel like a part of the team.
“Stephanie attends every practice and we look up to her for advice since she is able to watch us,” junior defender and biology major Chrissy Hults adds. “She’ll be back in no time and will be a key player on the team once again.”
The Lions will play an alumnae game Tuesday at 4 p.m. Their first game of the 2009 season is at Lions Stadium on Sept. 6 versus Frostburg State University. “I’m so excited,” Falcone said. “We’re going to have a great season. I can feel it.”