By Michael Battista
When one player is the significant reason your team has won its past two games, not only does that person receive praise — she receives a target on her back. One such player is Lions’ sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Thoresen, whose four goals over the stretch of the week helped push the College past Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham, 3-0, on Tuesday, Sept. 22, and past Kean University, 2-1, on Saturday, Sept. 26.
The Lions traveled up to Madison, N.J., to face off against the 4-3 Devils, who were coming off a strong 6-0 win against The City College of New York.
Right from the start, the Lions controlled the pace of the game. Within the first three minutes, Thoresen got off a wide shot and within 25 minutes the College had gotten a total of five shots off, compared to the Devils’ zero.
“Our defense, game by game is getting better,” Thoresen said. “We had some big times players, like graduates Jordan Downs and Kendra Griffith, to replace. Abby (Emmert), Courtney (Durstewitz) and Jessica Weeder are meeting the challenge to build the chemistry.”
The half ended with neither team pushing through, and the second continued on with the same results, until the 69th minute.
Thoresen, with an assist from junior midfielder Lauren Malajian, kicked in a shot passed FDU’s goalie, to put the Lions up, 1-0. She was not done, though, and less than three minutes later scored again off an assist from senior defender Brianna Cummings.
She attributed this to her constant training both in practice and on her own.
“I would say that this streak of good play is a result of efforts in the offseason and in season practices,” she said. “Creating scoring opportunities for myself and for others was one of the aspects of my game I really wanted to focus on.”
After a goal from Malajian in the 82nd minute, the Lions held onto the lead and won, 3-0.
The Lions’ next opponent was Kean in Union, N.J., on Saturday, Sept. 22, a conference game. Thoresen made her intentions for the team clear.
“The plan for Saturday is to bring our A-game,” she said before the game. “This is an NJAC game. We want to send a message to everyone saying that we are a team to be afraid of.”
And if the team isn’t feared at this point, Thoresen definitely is, after the past performances she’s recently put on.
The Lions’ offense had complete control during the entire first half, shooting 11 times and keeping the ball away from the Cougars, enough to hold them to zero.
Thoresen broke away from the pack in the 23rd minute, after a collision with a defender, to pick up another goal for her season total and put the College up, 1-0.
The game continued on, and five minutes into the second half, Kean was able to get its first shot off. However, the Lions still showed their offensive dominance when, off an assist from sophomore midfielder Jessica Goldman, Thoresen once again placed one past the Kean defense and put the team up, 2-0.
Thoresen, who was awarded NJAC conference honors last week and looks to be on track for another set, continued to credit her ability not only to her practice with the team, but her personal practice during the offseason.
“This high level of competition improved my game tremendously by forcing my game speed to be faster and my techniques to be sharper,” she said. “This summer I really wanted to improve myself to make an impact on the team and help us win. After the results from last season, I would not be satisfied with myself unless I came to this season prepared and ready to win.”
The Cougars showed offensive bursts in the second half, even scoring with 15 minutes to go in the game off a handball in the box. The Lions would keep them suppressed, however, giving them the 2-1 win and another conference victory.
The team now looks forward to facing Stockton University at home on Wednesday, Sept. 30, in another NJAC conference game.