It may not have been a revenge match in the minds of the Lions, but they certainly played like it.
The last time the College’s women’s soccer team met Montclair State University was in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship last season, where Montclair edged out the Lions 3-1 on penalty kicks to snap the College’s five-year reign as conference champions.
With the sting from that loss lingering, the Lions opened their NJAC schedule on Saturday by pouncing the Red Hawks for a 5-2 win.
Still, head coach Joe Russo did not consider it a grudge match.
“We never used (revenge) as a factor,” he said. “It was just another game on our schedule we had to be ready to play, especially since it was within our region. The kids were businesslike about it. I wouldn’t really call it a revenge match.”
It’s hard to believe the Lions, now 5-0 overall, weren’t inspired by something out of the ordinary. The Lions outshot the Red Hawks 19-3 and their five goals were the College’s most ever in an NJAC opener during Russo’s 15-year tenure at the College.
Sophomore forward Dana DiBruno and freshman forward Allie Schilling headed the offensive attack with a pair of goals each.
Schilling’s goals were particularly timely for the Lions. After the College jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Montclair scored twice to push within one of the Lions, but each time, Schilling responded with a goal to push the lead back to two. She made the score 3-1 with a softly kicked goal just three minutes before halftime and added her second goal at the 65-minute mark for a 4-2 lead.
DiBruno scored 2:13 into the game on a corner kick from freshman midfielder Coleen Weber. Freshman defender Jillian Casey made the lead 2-0 just nine minutes later on a feed from sophomore forward Beth Pagano.
The early lead gave the Lions extra wiggle room to fend off Montclair’s comeback attempt.
“That gave us a lot of confidence and a good cushion to make more plays,” Russo said.
Senior midfielder Jess Amendola’s first-half goal for the Red Hawks snapped the Lions’ four-game shutout streak.
Russo has no defensive concerns, though.
“Physically, I thought we were on the plus side of everything,” he said. “They just scored two goals.”
Amendola’s ball glanced off the hands of senior goalie Alissa Kacar before resting in the net.
DiBruno capped the day’s scoring with a goal four minutes before the end of play.
The Lions will host Ramapo College on Wednesday at 7:30.