By Anthony Caruso
This Friday, Feb. 27, the College’s women’s lacrosse team will return to Lions Stadium where they will face Fairleigh Dickinson College at Florham at 4 p.m.
It will be their first home contest since winning their first-round NCAA tournament match against Susquehanna University on May 10, 2014. Although they won this match 19-7 and defeated Washington and Lee University 13-7 a week later, the Lions ultimately lost to Amherst College on May 18, 2014 to end their season.
Last season, the Lions went 19-2 overall, including a perfect 6-0 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, en route to a fourth-consecutive NJAC title. They were 11-1 at home with a 7-1 road record and 1-0 at a neutral location.
“After a 19-2 record coming off of last season, our main goal looking forward is to start fresh,” senior Ava Fitzgerald said. “Even after a successful season, there is so much to reflect and improve on. Starting this season with some new faces, we are setting big goals for ourselves.”
They have been picked as the seventh-ranked team in the country to begin the season. This season, they will be tested with several top-10 opponents.
“Looking to eliminate those two losses and having an undefeated season would be an obvious accomplishment,” Fitzgerald said.
Salisbury University, who is the defending national champion, is the No. 1 ranked team. The Lions will travel to Salisbury, Maryland on Sunday, April 12, and will then face No. 2 Trinity College on Wednesday, April 15.
They will also travel to No. 6 Gettysburg College on Thursday, March 19.
Last season, the team averaged 16.43 points per game, while giving up 5.62.
The College graduated key losses, including Jen Garavente and Lauren Pigott. Garavente had 63 goals and 33 assists for 96 points in 21 games while Pigott added 56 goals and 21 assists for 77 points.
“Losing those four is definitely tough,” senior Lauren Karpovich said. “They were amazing players and even greater leaders.” However, Karpovich is thankful for the opportunity to play with them.
Senior Kendal Borup is the highest point scorer returning. She had 61 goals and 28 assists for 89 points. Fitzgerald is the only other player in the top five in scoring that is returning, as she had 67 goals and nine assists for 76 points.
“In order to reach our ultimate goal this year, which is to make it to the national championship, we must all step up which is something I know we will do,” Karpovich said. “Every single person on the team must play at a higher level this year.”
The Lions do have their starting netminder returning. Kelly Schlupp started 17 of the 21 games. She made 63 saves and gave up 104 goals during her 18-2 record.
“(Schlupp) is amazing,” Karpovich said. “She ended the season as one of the top goalies in the country.”
Karpovich hopes to build on last season’s success and win a national championship.
“When this season is finished, we want to make sure we finish on empty, and leave no dream left behind,” she said.