Stifling defense stretches shut-out streak to seven

While extending their shut-out streak to an impressive seven games, the College’s women’s soccer team defeated the University of Mary Washington on Saturday and improved to a 13-1-1 record on the season. Their current hot streak has earned them the No. 9 ranking in Division III.

The Lions� 3-0 victory over the Eagles was their third shutout of the week and followed their recent formula of success in which the team gets out to an early lead and lets the defense do the rest.

Senior forward Stephanie Peters gave the Lions the early lead by connecting on a cross from freshman midfielder Kristen Cubicciotti. Despite two more goals in the second half, the first goal proved to be all that the defense needed.

“Our defense is strong and has been the spark for this team,” senior midfielder Katie Egan said. “We know how important it is to not make any mistakes defensively.�

The victory over Mary Washington was the Lions’ second non-conference win of the week. The Lions also knocked off the Eagles of Eastern University 3-0 earlier in the week and extended their home unbeaten streak to an intimidating 51 games.

The Lions received a solid all-around effort from their team, including an early goal from senior midfielder Lauren DiStefano.

Peters expressed little surprise that the victory was a team effort. “Every game and practice is a team effort,” Peters said. “We play for each other and work hard for each other, and by doing that we all improve.”

The Lions are taking all of their games seriously, even the seemingly less important non-conference games. “We’re at a point in the season where every game is important,” Egan said. “We know we can’t let up and that one lapse could end our season.”

The Lions did have some New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) action this week in their game against Rutgers University-Newark. They responded accordingly with a 7-0 victory over the Scarlet Raiders.

Senior midfielder Lynda Schuster sparked the team in the first half with two goals and the Lions never looked back. Junior goalkeeper Alissa Kacar and sophomore Megan Roe combined for the shutout in goal.

After an impressive week in which they outscored their opponents 13-0, the Lions have some high expectations for the rest of the season. “We’re going to take things one step at a time,” Egan said. “We’re in a good position so far, and we just have to keep up our intensity.”

Head coach Joe Russo is proud of his team on and off the field. “The leadership in the locker room has led to a business-like atmosphere on this team,” he said. “The girls have great chemistry and it shows on the field.”

As well as this team has jelled, Russo said that a certain style of play is a big part of the team�s success. �We concentrate on defense and that sparks our offense,� he said. �If our defense is strong, we can attack the opposition and stretch their defense.�

Despite the success of the offense and the length of the team�s current shutout streak, defense remains the priority, Egan said.

�We weren�t necessarily concerned with keeping a streak, but we always go into every game striving for a solid defensive effort,� she said. �As the season continues and the teams we play get better, we will need our defense to be at its best.�

Today the Lions will put their shut-out streak on the line with an away game against Stevens Institute of Technology.