By Michael Battista
In the sports realm, games can be close contests, hard fought with a finish that leave both teams knowing they gave it all they could. Then there are games similar to the ones the College’s women’s soccer team played on Wednesday, Sept. 16, against Penn State Harrisburg, where they picked up a 12-0 win, and beat Rutgers-Newark, 5-0 on Saturday, Sept. 19.
The College came into the game on Wednesday sporting a 2-0-2 record, looking for a breakout performance after multiple close matches.
Five minutes in, a penalty shot from senior midfielder Taylor Lusardi slid into the back of the net, starting what would be a blowout game.
The Lions controlled this game from the opening kickoff, keeping possession of the ball for a majority of the 90 minutes and outshooting the Nittany Lions, 34-1.
Lusardi scored a hat trick in the matchup, with two more goals coming in the eighth and 31st minutes. In this situation, she said the most important thing is not letting up at any point.
“In a game like this you need to keep the energy up for the entire game,” she said, also finding some humor in the situation. “We scored some goals, it was nice.”
The Harrisburg defense was unable to keep the College back for long. In one instance, freshman midfielder Martha Papapetrou scored, followed no less than 13 seconds later by a goal from sophomore forward Hannah Richman.
Players such as junior midfielder Lauren Malajian and sophomore midfielders Elizabeth Thoresen and Richman all scored twice during the contest, while Papapetrou, junior defenseman Marykate Sullivan and freshman forward Kate Galgano all scored once.
Lusardi said that a game like this is great for working on certain parts of the team that need improvement.
“We had time to perfect things we needed to work on as a team,” Lusardi said on the team’s successful game. “Finishing definitely being one of them.”
The game ended with a 12-0 win for the Lions, leaving Lusardi, who was given the team helmet as the game MVP, to praise her team for their effort.
“The chemistry we have is amazing,” she said. “We have talent and depth in our roster. If we work on finishing (our opportunities) we’ll be set.”
After that, the team quickly put the win behind as they prepared for their first conference matchup against Rutgers-Newark on Saturday, Sept. 19.
The Scarlet Raiders came into the game 6-1, also looking for a win in their conference debut for 2015. The Lions shutout Rutgers-Newark in their conference opener.
Early on, the Lions’ defense showed why they are ranked 16th in the nation in Division III, holding Rutgers to zero shots in the first half and only two in the second half.
Coach Joe Russo says the team’s backline has been coming along nicely this season, using both new and old talent together.
“Collectively, (the backline) has been great,” he said. “The new crew has done well together.”
The College’s offense was also on full display during the game, with the Lions keeping possession of the ball for most of both halfs. Ten minutes into the first half, junior defender Marissa Scognamiglio, off an assist from Thoreson, headed in a cross past the Rutgers goalkeeper to put the Lions up, 1-0, and picking up her first goal of the season.
Sullivan also picked up another goal for her season total in the 35th minute, as did junior midfielder Sarah Marion in the 46th and 70th minutes and Thoresen in the 61st minute of regulation play.
Russo says that games like this and the last one are good for team morale, and helps further the team’s progress in certain areas.
“Anytime you score a lot of goals it’s positive for everybody,” he said. “It takes time for the team to get into this sort of rhythm, it’s a process.”
The game clock hit 90 minutes, and the match ended with the Lions coming out on top 5-0, earning their first conference win.
Russo admitted the team still has things it can work on before the next match up.
“We can definitely be better in the attacking third and finishing our chances,” he said.
The Lions now prepare to travel up to Madison, N.J., hoping to keep their undefeated record in tact when they face Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus in a non conference game on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m.