The College’s women’s soccer team earned their 100th victory in Lions’ Stadium last Wednesday after a 3-0 shutout win over their rival, the Profs of Rowan University.
The Lions now boast a 100-3-7 record on their home turf and have given up fewer than 20 goals in 110 games.
“This was an important win,” head coach Joe Russo, who has been with the Lions through each of their 100 wins, said. “It’s a credit to every single kid that’s been through our program.”
After 40 minutes of play, senior midfielder Katie Egan scored her first goal of the season as she connected with a cross from senior midfielder Lynda Schuster and shot the ball past sophomore goalkeeper Gabrielle Ditchey.
Just five minutes later, sophomore forward Caitlin Brennan found a quick pass from freshman midfielder Christine Cavallo and sent the ball into the back of the net to bring the Lions to a 2-0 lead at halftime.
But the Lions still had another fierce half to play.
“We knew that we could not let up even a little bit or else they would have taken advantage of the situation,” Egan said. “We fought hard to keep them out of their game and make them play to ours.”
In the end, the team’s perseverance paid off.
The Lions sealed the win over the Profs as this week’s New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie Player of the Week, freshman midfielder Dana DiBruno, tallied the third goal of the game off a cross by Egan.
“Winning the game felt great because it was another step in the right direction for this team,” Egan said.
In total, the Lions boasted a 23-3 shot and 13-4 corner kick advantage.
This was the 10th time the Lions faced the Profs and the Lions now lead the series 9-0-1.
Later in the week, the Lions crushed the Scarlet Raptors of Rutgers-Camden 6-0, to add another shutout win to their record.
In their sixth shutout of the season, the Lions scored just as many goals and still managed to maintain a tight defensive line to thwart off any offensive attacks. They did this so well that, while the Lions pounced on the Raptors’ defense and broke through with a total of 25 shots, the Raptors only sported three shots on Lions junior goalkeeper Alissa Kacar the entire game.
“Our defense is known to be a solid, stingy and relentless group of girls who know the meaning of hard work,” Egan said. “They know what it takes to shut out teams and they strive for that every game.”
The first of these shots to reach the net came after the Lions were awarded a penalty kick when junior forward Brittny Boyd was pushed down in the box. Senior midfielder Lauren DiStefano took the kick, which was deflected but not caught by the Raptors’ sophomore goalkeeper Tracy Stonaker. Boyd capitalized on the loose ball and swiftly planted the rebound into the net.
With the Lions leading 1-0, Brennan stepped up and headed a cross off a corner kick by Egan for the second goal.
In the second half, the Lions continued to score, starting with two goals from Boyd and Schuster in the first two minutes of the half. Boyd connected a cross from Schuster in mid-air and senior forward Stephanie Peters lobbed a shot over Stonaker’s head from about 20 yards away making the score 4-0.
As if that was not enough, freshman midfielder Kristen Cubiccotti and DiBruno assisted and scored the Lions’ final two goals, respectively.
“The Rutgers-Camden game was surrounded by a lot of emotion this year,” Egan said. “Last year was the first time they had ever beaten us and our team was not going to let that happen again.”
The Lions now lead their series history with Rutgers-Camden 3-1 and improve to an 8-1-1 record overall with a 5-0 NJAC record. This also continues their 49-game winning streak at home, which dates back to their last home loss on Oct. 14, 1998 – a 2-0 decision to William Paterson University.
“Although our final goal is to win the NCAA Championship, our team’s theory this year has been to take each game one step at a time and I think we have been successful in doing that,” Egan said. “Our coach’s saying is that, in order to be the best in the country, you have to be the best in your own backyard.”
Up next for the Lions will be a non-conference match-up at Gwynedd-Mercy College on Thursday at 4 p.m.