By Anthony Caruso
The women’s lacrosse team had an early start to their season. Traditionally, they have begun the first week of March, but this season, they started the season just days before the end of February.
The snow limited the team’s practice leading up to the game. According to coach Sharon Pfluger, the team was only able to practice at Lions Stadium just two days before the game because of the inclement weather.
The team struggled at times as they opened the season, yet were able to escape with an 11-8 win over the FDU-Florham Devils at home on Friday, Feb. 27.
“I’m really happy that we won,” Pfluger said. “I don’t think we played our best, but it’s only our first game.”
In the second half, senior Ava Fitzgerald added two goals, bringing her total to four on the day. Senior Kendal Borup also scored another goal, while fellow classman Erin Healy scored her first of the year. Freshman Amanda Muller scored the final goal of the game.
“I think overall the team played well,” Fitzgerald said “There are things we need to do better and things we successfully carried out. This first game was a good opportunity for us to begin to mesh in the game setting.”
The Devils saw goals by Courtney Rendinaro and Brianna Capobianco. Joelle Manganella scored twice in the half, while Brienna Reasoner added her second of the game.
“Rendinaro definitely drove hard to goal, which was a great way for us to see what we need to work on as a defensive unit,” Fitzgerald said. “Our team works hard at breaking things down and using every opportunity we can as a learning experience to continue to grow and improve. I have no doubt that moving forward teams will have a harder time breaking through our eight-meter defense.”
The Lions led 6-3 at halftime. Junior Courtney Natalicchio scored a first half hat trick. Fitzgerald added two goals, while Borup had the other goal in the half.
“Natalicchio was able to step up and provide the team with some momentum to keep our lead, and our transition game allowed me to capitalize on scoring opportunities on the attacking end,” Fitzgerald said. “Moving forward, we are expecting big things from a lot of players, given the depth we possess.”
Rendinaro had two goals in the first half for the Devils. Reasoner had the other goal.
Lions goaltender Kelly Schlupp made three saves, while giving up seven goals. Her counterpart, Grace Warburton, made five saves and gave up 10 goals.
The Lions will return to action this Saturday, March 7, in their second game of the season, which will also be home. This game will be at 1 p.m. against Neumann University.