This weekend marked two firsts for the College women’s soccer team.
Unfortunately, neither of them were good.
The Lions lost to the Red Hawks of Montclair State University, 2-1, making their second loss in a row and their fourth on the season. It’s the first time in the 14-year history of the program that both these things happened.
The outcome of the game also carried more weight than most games.
“It was a very important game for us, it determined who hosts the conference tournament,” Head Coach Joe Russo said.
The loss could also affect the Lions position in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).
“We’ve already suffered one loss in the conference this season, we can’t afford another,” junior midfielder Katie Egan said before the game against the Red Hawks. The Lions’ (12-4 overall, 6-2 NJAC) other loss in the conference came from Rutgers University-Camden Scarlet Raptors on Sept. 24.
The Red Hawks (12-4 overall, 7-1 NJAC) offense was completely powered by junior defender Shirah Odeh who scored both goals for the Red Hawks. Her first goal came two minutes into the game as a header off a corner from senior midfielder Stephanie Santos.
Odeh scored again in the second half at 56:50 off another corner kick, assisted by sophomore forward Kelly Dutko.
Junior midfielder Lynda Schuster tried to battle back with an unassisted goal at 74:59, but the Lions were unable to put anything together after that. Schuster is currently second on the all-time assist list with 24, and now only needs seven more to break recent graduate Gia Rosamilia’s record of 30. Schuster also holds the single-season assist record at 13.
Sophomore goalkeeper Alissa Kacar took the loss in goal for the Lions, allowing two goals and making three stops.
The Lions lead the all-time series with the Red Hawks 14-1-1.
Thunder 3, Lions 1
Earlier in the week, the Lions suffered their third loss of the season to eighth-ranked Wheaton College Thunder (Ill.), 3-1. This marks only the fourth time in the history of the program that the team suffered more than three losses in a season.
“They’re a very, very good team,” Russo said. “It was a good test for us.”
Wheaton is not in the College’s region so the loss will not effect the Lions conference standing.
Wheaton jumped on the Lions early when junior midfielder Sara Johnson scored her 13th goal of the season. Johnson took advantage of a cross from sophomore midfielder Mary Doleshal and tapped it past diving keeper, Kacar.
“We didn’t get off to a great start,” Egan said. “It could have been a whole different game.”
The Thunder maintained the narrow lead throughout the first half and part of the second. The score would eventually be tied at 51:28 by junior defender Erin Pivovarnick. Egan fed the corner kick to the far post where junior midfielder Stephanie Peters headed the ball to Pivovarnick who sent the ball into the far right side of the goal for her seventh goal of the season.
“Once we scored our first goal to tie the game, I thought we were in great shape,” Russo said.
Wheaton’s sophomore forward, Jen Binger, tallied an unassisted goal at 59:12 breaking the tie. The goal was her 16th of the year.
Wheaton freshman midfielder Natalie Cooney added an unassisted goal at 87:21.
The Lions were out-shot by a team for the first time all season, 13-11.
“We knew they were a very good team going into the game,” Egan said. “They’re the best team we’ve played all season.”
Kacar had the loss in goal, allowing three goals and making three stops. Wheaton’s junior goalkeeper, Brita Nelson, played the first half and made three saves. She was replaced by sophomore Ashley Vratil in the second half, who allowed one goal and made two stops.
Lions 12, Gothic Knights 0
In a game full of zeros last week, the Lions destroyed the Gothic Knights of New Jersey City University, 12-0. Not only were the Gothic Knights unable to score a goal, they were unable to get close enough to even attempt it.
The Lions were led by sophomore midfielder Dana Logandro, who notched the first goal of her career at 88:08 to finish off the Lions offensive attack. She also had three assists on the day.
The Lions ended the half with a 9-0 lead. Pivovarnick scored a pair of goals and Egan added a goal and an assist. Logandro and junior midfielder Linda O’Leary combined for five assists in the first half.
At 49:34, freshman forward Lauren Grochala scored an unassisted goal to increase the lead to 10-0. At 63:00, junior midfielder Marina Capacasa assisted junior defender Shannon Scott for the Lions 11th goal.
Frosh midfielder Caitlin Brennan assisted Logandro with her first career goal.
The College now leads the all-time series against New Jersey City University, which began in 1994, 10-0. In those 10 games, the Gothic Knights never scored a goal against the Lions.
Lions 3, Profs 0
The Lions’ 3-0 victory over the Profs of Rowan University before fall break marked the 250th career win for Russo. His overall record during his 14-year stint at the College is 250-23-17.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” Russo said. “I’ve been blessed with some great players and a great staff.”
Egan and Pivovarnick each had a goal and an assist on the game.
Neither team could break the scoreless game until the Lions found the back of the net with 2:30 left in the first half. O’Leary sailed a corner kick into the penalty box where Peters headed the ball to Pivovarnick, who nailed the Lions first goal to give them the lead.
With only five minutes left in the second, Egan scored from six yards out, connecting on a cross from Pivovarnick.
The win was the Lions’ eighth shutout of the year. The College now leads the all-time series against Rowan, 8-0-1. The Profs have only scored once against the College in a 4-1 loss in 1998.
In goal, Kacar earned her fifth solo shutout of the year, outplaying NJAC Rookie of the Week, Gabrielle Ditchy, who made nine stops in the loss for the Profs.
Sophomore forward Brittny Boyd headed a pass from Egan into the goal with just 15 seconds left to play. Boyd’s final goal of the game gave the Lions their 3-0 victory over the Profs.
The Lions will travel to Gettysburg College today for a non-conference match at 2:30 p.m.