By Miguel Gonzalez
The Lions resurged from last week’s loss by defeating NJAC opponents Rowan University on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and William Paterson University on Saturday, Oct. 24. For the week of Sunday, Oct. 18, the New Jersey Athletic Conference named Elizabeth Morrison as the rookie field hockey player of the week for her earned assists during the College’s matches against Ursinus College and Ramapo College.
Freshmen forwards Morrison and Taylor Barrett scored in the second half during the Lions’ 2-1 win against the Rowan University Profs. Both junior goalie Kelly Schlupp and Rowan sophomore goalie Carly DeMarco were challenged by consistent shooting. In the fourth minute, Rowan freshman midfielder Jacqui Rosati’s shot from the penalty corner ricocheted off of Schlupp, but junior defender Lexi Smith rushed in for a defensive save.
Less than 10 minutes later, Rowan senior defender Marisa Marini passed to freshman forward Rachel Galante. Immediately, Galante took a fast shot from the top the circle to put the Profs ahead. The Lions reacted momentarily with aggression and shots from senior midfielder Mikayla Cimilluca, Smith, sophomore forward Alicia Wagner, Morrison and junior defender Shannon Cowles. However, DeMarco saved the majority of them while their defense closed gaps. In the 23rd minute, Schlupp kicked the ball twice to contain the Profs’ offense. In the meantime, the Lions’ offense had trouble scoring as DeMarco saved shots from Barrett, Smith and Wagner.
With another win at stake, the Lions’ offense burst in the second period with 14 shots. From the 35th to the 50th minute, the Lions penetrated the Profs’ defense with shots from Smith, Cowles, Morrison, junior midfielder Danielle Andreula and Cimilluca. Identical to the second period, DeMarco held the Lions scoreless.
In the 52nd minute, Rowan senior forward Sam Browne skipped through the Lions’ defense and approached the box for an uncontested shot. Schlupp miraculously slid toward the shot and recorded a crucial save. Afterward, Barrett scored off a penalty corner with an assist from junior defender Cowles. The Lions’ offense continued to push with more shots from Barrett and Smith. Morrison scored the tiebreaker in the 65th minute after receiving a pass from Smith. Schlupp and the Lions’ defense hung on against the Profs’ offense to secure the 2-1 victory.
During Homecoming weekend the Lions traveled to Wayne, N.J., and blanked out the William Paterson Pioneers, 3-0. The Lions marked the scoreboard first with a goal from Smith in the fourth minute.
Throughout the game the Lions maintained possession and the defense was sparsely challenged. Barrett kept feeding the Lions’ offense with multiple penalty corners. However, Pioneer senior goalie Meg Davies halted the attacks with five saves. In the 15th minute, the Lions broke through Davies when Smith shot to the right corner of the box.
“(Smith) has some of the best stick work I have ever seen and it’s really nice to see all the things she can create on the field due to her game sense and knowledge,” Cimilluca said.
The Lions’ offense stayed dominant in the second half while the defense conceded only one shot. A new face emerged at the penalty corner role as freshman midfielder Caroline Quinn initiated the Lions’ offense with multiple penalty corners. Like the first period, Davies kept foiling the Lions with save after save until the 60th minute. Nevertheless, the Lions extended the lead, 3-0, when Wagner shot into the lower right corner with an assist from freshman midfielder Sidney Padilla.
With the two conference victories, the Lions secured the top-seed and home-field advantage for the upcoming NJAC tournament in November. The Lions head into their last two regular season matches including an away game in Reading, Pa., for an out-of-conference matchup against Albright College on Thursday, Oct. 29. Their last regular season game will be a Halloween matchup on Saturday Oct. 31., against the Kean University Cougars at Lions’ Stadium.