By Miguel Gonzalez
An overall field hockey record of 546-99-9. An overall lacrosse record of 455-51-1. Twenty NCAA Division III National Championships (11 in lacrosse and nine in field hockey) and now 1,000 career victories. Coach Sharon Pfluger has done more than enough to cement herself as a legend in the College’s Athletics, but her greatest achievement will always be her guidance.
“She creates such a welcoming environment for us and allows us to believe we are capable of achieving greatness,” senior captain Mikayla Cimilluca said.
For the week of Sunday, Sept. 27, the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) named junior defender Lexi Smith as field hockey defensive player of the week for her superb defensive effort during the Lions 3-2 double overtime victory against Salisbury University.
In the beginning of the week, freshman forward Elizabeth Morrison netted in two goals as the Lions pounced with a 4-1 victory against the Manhattanville College Valiants. After a couple of penalty corners from freshman forward Taylor Barrett, Smith scored from the top of the circle at the 27th minute. The Lions offense kept overwhelming the Valiants defense as Smith and Cimilluca recorded multiple shots. However, Valiants goalie Kaitlin Halloran saved every single one of them.
The second period featured more offense from the Valiants. Three minutes in, Smith earned a defensive save for stopping a shot off penalty corner. In the 42nd minute, Morrison capitalized on a rebound to score her first goal as a Lion. The Valiants rebounded quickly when junior defender Bregje Smits shot high from the top of the circle with an assist from senior forward Rylee McGuire.
Nearing the last 10 minutes of the period, Morrison extended the Lions’ lead when her shot deflected into the post, off an assist from Smith. With less than 30 seconds left, senior forward Alicia Wagner scored off a rebound shot, with another assist from Smith. In all, the Lions’ defense limited the Valiants to only three shots, while the offense recorded 19.
With accomplishing Pfluger’s 1,000th career victory in front of the home crowd in mind, the Lions roared through a 6-0 win against the Gwynedd Mercy University Griffins on Thursday, Oct. 1. Junior midfielder Douglas and Smith led the offense with two goals each. In the eighth minute, Smith scored off a penalty corner pass from Douglas.
Wagner, Douglas and Smith followed up with a combined five shots. However, Griffin goalie Samantha Soscia was able to stop every shot. Despite Soscia’s goalkeeping, the Lions penetrated through the net three times for the rest of the period. Within the 24th minute, Douglas scored off an assist from Wagner. Four minutes later, freshman midfielder Sidney Padilla scored a solo goal. Afterward, Douglas immediately scored her second goal of the match. The Lions’ offense continued their dominance in the second half while sophomore goalie Christina Fabiano maintained a shutout. In the 45th minute, junior midfielder Danielle Andreula scored off an assist from Smith.
After a couple of shots from Morrison, Cimilluca and Wagner, Smith scored her second goal of the match with another assist from Douglas. Fabiano recorded three saves as she foiled a later counterattack from the Griffins. The Lions’ offense finished with 22 shots while the defense only allowed eight, with seven combined saves from goalies Kelly Schlupp and Fabiano.
On the road last weekend for their first NJAC Conference matchup, the Lions closed off the Osprey’s offense for a 3-0 win on Saturday, Oct. 3. The Lions were held scoreless in the first period as their offense struggled to find the net despite a series of penalty corners from Douglas.
In the 14th minute, Osprey sophomore goalkeeper Emily Sorochynskyj saved a shot from Barrett. Afterward, Smith merely missed a goal when her shot hit the post. Toward the end of the first period, Osprey goalie Sorochynskyj kept the scoreboard even by saving shots from Morrison and Wagner.
With the game still tied, the Lions broke away with three goals. In the 38th minute, Morrison utilized Douglas’ penalty corner to score from inside the circle. After Barrett substituted for Douglas in the 50th minute, Wagner tipped in a goal with an assist from Smith. Less than a minute later, Morrison extended the College’s lead when she poked in a goal from her own rebound. From there, the Lions challenged the Osprey’s defense with plenty of shots from Morrison, Wagner, Padilla and junior defender Shannon Coweles. Once again, Osprey goalie Sorochynskyj halted the Lions’ offense in a midst of recording 12 saves. In all, the Lions’ offense flourished with 24 shots and 16 penalty corners while the defense did not allow a single shot.
“We’re really doing a good job of playing as a team and using our strengths to our advantage,” Cimilluca said. “We’ve faced some tough competition thus far and we take each game and learn from it so that we can better ourselves.”
Currently, the Lions are on an uncharted 24-game winning streak. At the beginning of October, the team has scored a whopping 39 goals and only conceded five goals. The Lions await for an out-of-conference matchup against the 8-1 Eastern University Eagles on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at Lions’ Stadium.