Momentum takes Lions into postseason

With four more wins, the women’s soccer team finished out the regular season ranked eighth in the nation with an overall record of 13-1-2. The Lions also went undefeated in conference play for the third straight year, sporting an 8-0-1 record.

“We went into every game expecting to come out on top,” sophomore forward Allie Schilling said. “Losing was just not acceptable to us. The ties even felt like losses, but overall, we did a good job during the regular season.”

Receiving the top seed in the conference tournament, the Lions will host a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) semifinal game tonight against Kean University at 7:30 p.m.

“We have a very serious mindset heading into postseason,” sophomore forward Jamie Kunkel said. “Our practices are becoming more intense … Every team we face from now on is going to be good.”

The Lions defeated William Paterson University 4-1 on Oct. 19. The game did not start off well for the Lions, as an attempt to clear the ball was deflected backward into the net two minutes into the game. Sophomore Amanda Kurdyla was awarded the goal for the Pioneers.

Later, sophomore defender Jillian Casey answered back just five minutes later for the Lions, tying the game at one. Junior forward Dana DiBruno followed up by redirecting a nice cross into the back of the net in the 26th minute.

In the second half, sophomore defender Courtney Krol added to the lead by burying a direct kick from 40 yards out. The night ended with a goal from sophomore midfielder Coleen Weber, her first of the season.

Freshman goalkeeper Jessica Clarke picked up the win for the Lions. For the Pioneers, goalkeeper Jessica Reibis made 12 saves, while Kurdyla recorded the last nine minutes in net and made two saves.

On Oct. 21, the Lions pounded University of Mary Washington in a 9-0 victory. The first half featured two Lions goals, one from junior forward Christine Mullin and the other from Krol.

During the second half, the Lions erupted for seven goals. DiBruno began the half with her eighth goal of the season, while Kunkel chipped in with two goals of her own.

Sophomore midfielder Erin Cunliffe put the Lions up 6-0 with her first goal of the season. Junior forward Beth Pagano added two more scores on the board, before junior midfielder Christine Cavallo completed the night with a goal of her own.

Clarke needed one save for the shutout, while her counterpart, Laura McCarthy, managed 10 saves for the Eagles.

The Lions continued their scoring spree with a 13-0 crushing of New Jersey City University last Monday. The game was 20 minutes shorter than usual, as referees enforced the mercy rule. Mullin began the game with a game-winning goal in the second minute.

DiBruno, Schilling and sophomore midfielder Nicole Papola then pushed the score to 4-0 with goals of their own. Freshman forward Kelly Feeney netted her first collegiate goal with a blast from 30 yards out. Then, Cunliffe ended the first half barrage by finishing a pass from Cavallo.

Cunliffe completed a hat trick in the second half by adding two more goals to her total. Freshman forward Briann McDonough followed suit by tallying two goals of her own.

Freshmen midfielders Kristina Shemming and Mamoko Aoe added to the barrage by netting goals of their own. Junior defender Jenn Olszewski capped off the night with her first goal of the season, giving the Lions a 13-0 win. All four Lions keepers saw time in the victory.

In their last regular season game, the Lions defeated Rowan University 4-0. After an early foul in the box, Krol put a penalty kick past Profs goalkeeper Melissa Hall.

DiBruno then converted off a pass from Kunkel for her team-leading 10th goal. Krol then set up Weber off a long throw-in to put the Lions up 3-0 before halftime. Mullin, the Lions’ only senior player, scored the final goal of the regular season.

Clarke did not even need a save to amass her eighth shutout of the season. Hall made 12 saves for the Profs.

Heading into the postseason, the Lions are not taking anything for granted.

“We just have to take one game at a time and focus on playing our absolute best from now on,” Casey said. “Anything can happen in these upcoming games, but we will be ready.”

If the Lions win the NJAC semifinals tonight in Lions’ Stadium at 7 p.m., the NJAC Championships will take place this Saturday.