By Michael Battista and Anthony Caruso
Sports Assistant and Staff Writer
The women’s lacrosse team entered the NJAC Tournament on Wednesday, April 29, hoping to win their fifth straight title — and they did, with a 14-5 win over Rowan University at Lions stadium.
The first match of the tournament was against Kean University at home, in a rematch of the regular season final.
The Lions jumped out to an early lead in this game with a 4-0 start. Cougars junior Jordan Blanda made it 4-1, before the Lions scored the next five goals. The team was up 9-1 at the end of the first half. In the second half, the College scored five times compared to the Cougars’ three goals. The College had two goals scored by freshman Amanda Muller while seniors Erin Healy and Kendal Borup and sophomore Jaclyn Douglas also scored in the second half.
Lions goalie, sophomore Kelly Schlupp, made five saves and allowed four goals in 60 minutes compared to Cougars freshman Nikki Apostolopoulos, who made eight saves and allowed 14 goals in Kean’s loss.
The Lions had a few days to rest before their next game, against the Rowan Profs on Saturday, May 2, at home. The team had past success against the Profs in the regular season last month 12-4, and hoped they could repeat.
The Lions jumped out to a 6-0 start before the Profs even got on the board. Borup scored twice and Healy scored the final three goals of the first half, giving the Lions a 10-3 lead. After the Profs scored five minutes into the second, the Lions scored four straight unanswered goals, capped off by junior Courtney Natalicchio.
Schlupp made two saves and allowed five goals in 60 minutes for the win, while her counterpart, Profs freshman Erin Horner, made four saves and allowed 14 goals in the loss.
With the win, the team clinched the New Jersey Athletic Conference title and will now have more than a week off before their 31st straight appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Senior Ava Fitzgerald said that the team is ecstatic about their title, but need to look forward to nationals.
“Winning NJACs is a great experience,” she said. “We have come a long way since the start of our season and I have no doubt we have a lot more room to grow and excel as the national tournament begins.
The NCAA announced that the Lions will host St. John Fisher College in the second round of the tournament on Sunday, May 10.
“This is such an exciting time and being a part of the tournament is an honor.” Fitzgerald said, “I can’t wait to see what else we can accomplish as a team.”