By Miguel Gonzalez
The women’s lacrosse team faced two ranked opponents at Lions Stadium this week. On March 27, the Lions defeated Middlebury College, 10-6. The following Thursday, March 29, the team endured a 9-5 loss against Gettysburg College.
On March 28, head coach Sharon Pfluger was featured on Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Weekly for her notable 500th victory against The College At Brockport, SUNY.
The Lions were in for a challenge against Middlebury, as their opponent sought revenge from its 8-4 defeat to the College at last year’s NCAA Regional final. However, the team came out on top again and defeated Middlebury, who is currently ranked fourth in the IWLCA Division III Coaches Poll. Unlike previous matches this season, the Lions found themselves with an early 0-2 deficit in the first half, but junior midfielder Kathleen Jaeger turned the tide when she scored in the 23rd minute. Just two minutes later, sophomore attacker Olivia Cleale scored the equalizer with an assist from Jaeger.
With two minutes remaining in the first half, Cleale cradled through Middlebury’s defense and netted her second goal to give the Lions a 3-2 lead. Middlebury immediately countered on the next play when junior attacker Emma McDonagh snuck in a shot.
By the second half, both teams were tied at three. In the 37th minute, Cleale scored another crucial goal with the help of freshman midfielder Erin Jaffe. Middlebury struck again shortly after when McDonagh netted her second goal to tie the match at four.
Afterward, the Lions overwhelmed Middlebury with three successive goals by senior midfielder Amanda Muller, sophomore midfielder Allie Gorman and Jaeger.
While Middlebury scored twice, the Lions held their lead and netted two additional goals to claim the 10-6 victory. The next match against Gettysburg College yielded a different result.
Gettysburg, who is currently ranked first in the IWLCA Division III Coaches Poll, proved to be a challenging opponent. The Lions scored their least amount of goals in a game this season as they endured their second loss of the year.
The team struggled to score in the first half. In the 12th minute, Jaeger scored to cut Gettysburg’s lead to 1. Following the goal, Gettysburg poured in three goals until Jaeger scored again in the 23rd minute.
With the Lions down, 7-2, Jaeger kept the Lions’ offense alive when she scored off a rebound shot from senior defender Elizabeth Morrison. Entering the second half, the Lions were determined to erase their 7-3 deficit, but Gettysburg locked down on defense. Despite recording 15 shots, the team only managed to net two goals. Meanwhile, Gettysburg junior goalkeeper Bailey Pilder racked up 13 saves. In the end, the Lions suffered a 9-5 loss.
After a tough week, the Lions will begin competing in the New Jersey Athletic Conference when they travel north to Montclair, New Jersey, for a match against Montclair State University on Saturday, April 7.