Dominating play moves the College up to No. 2

Not even cold rain, soaked AstroTurf or a nine-day layoff could stop the women’s soccer team from continuing their red-hot season.

The Lions won three home games this week to improve their record to a perfect 13-0 overall and 7-0 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). Twelve of this season’s wins have come by shutout.

The Lions are now ranked No. 2 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Division III poll.

The College defeated Gwynedd-Mercy College 2-0 Thursday on an alternate home field at Mercer County Community College. After a scoreless first half, sophomore midfielder Kristen Cubicciotti scored the game-winner 2:39 into the second half.

“I thought we had the better play and quite a few missed chances early on, especially in bad conditions,” head coach Joe Russo said. “We eventually finished those chances.”

With the Lions Stadium field in poor shape because of the rain last week, the game was moved to Mercer County Community College (MCCC) because the team is required to play at least one home game there in order to host an NCAA tournament game at that field.

Senior forward Brittny Boyd added an insurance goal, her seventh of the year, nine minutes later to put the game out of reach.

The Lions dominated the game, holding a 23-2 advantage in shots and primarily playing in the Griffins’ zone the entire game.

This game marked only the fifth time the College was held to two goals or less this season. The loss dropped Gwynedd-Mercy to 5-6-1 on the year.

The College defeated Rutgers University-Newark 6-0 Wednesday night behind a hat trick by sophomore forward Dana DiBruno.

“We haven’t played in a while and were excited to get back in action,” DiBruno said. “We’re very proud of the way we played.”

DiBruno got the College on the board less than two minutes into the game when she buried a Cubicciotti cross in the net.

“We took control of the game early and made them have to chase the game so they couldn’t sit in and defend,” Russo said.

DiBruno continued her scoring in the second half by adding two goals only a minute apart. For the first, DiBruno took a Coleen Weber pass at the top of the box, turned and knocked it in. To complete the hat trick, DiBruno dribbled past the challenging goalie and scored.

“(DiBruno) has been playing very well,” Russo said. “She had some great balls played around her and she’s been consistently finishing the whole year.”

The Lions’ second goal came off a shot from sophomore defenseman Courtney Krol from the 40-yard line that hit the post. Sophomore defenseman Toni-Anne Cavallo slipped the rebound past a diving Katie Hastings of Rutgers-Newark.

Freshmen Kristen Triocci and Erin Cunliffe each tallied their first career goals in the second half to round out the Lions’ scoring. Triocci scored off a corner kick, while Cunliffe took a Caitlin Brennan pass and deflected it into the net for the final goal.

The College dismantled New Jersey City University 12-0 on Saturday at Lions Stadium. Cunliffe tallied a hat trick and nine other Lions scored goals in the blowout. The Lions outshot NJCU 50-1.

The Lions thoroughly dominated their opponents during the home stand, playing almost all of each game in the offensive zone. They have now outscored their opponents by a 54-2 margin this season.

Senior goalie Alissa Kacar and freshman goalie Kristen Kuda shared two shutouts, with Kacar securing the other against Gwynedd-Mercy. The goalie tandem faced a total of three shots during the three-game home stand.

“We play well at home, our kids are very comfortable there,” Russo said. “Hopefully we can continue to play that way.”

The Lions play their final regular season home game today against the Stevens Institute of Technology at 7:30 p.m.