Picking up where they left off last season, the Lions used blistering defensive play to take it to the Violets of New York University, 4-0, before scorching the Christopher Newport University (CNU) Captains 5-0 to be crowned champions of the Elizabethtown College Blue Jay Classic.
Eight different Lions combined for nine goals in the two victories.
“We all give it 110 percent on the field because we know the person sitting next to us would do the same,” sophomore midfielder Casey Caruso said. “We got off to a great start. It was nice that there was a variety of people who scored.”
Two of the scores in the first contest against the Violets came in the first half. Caruso scored the first goal of the year on an assist by senior forward Jamie Kunkel, and shortly thereafter, senior defenseman Jillian Casey put in another score to pad the lead, putting the Lions up 2-0.
The Lions, the third-ranked team in the NSCAA Division III poll, struck quickly in the second half as sophomore midfielder Gina Colati tallied her first goal of the season.
Sophomore midfielder Julianne Delorenzo recorded the fourth and final score on the day for the Lions. Her goal was assisted by freshman forward Maria Grady, and the assist was Grady’s first point in her collegiate career.
“It felt great to score in the opening game,” Delorenzo said.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kate Piotrowski headed up the solid defense of the game, making two saves in the shutout win.
“I thought we played well as a team,” Delorenzo said.
The second game handed the Lions a different opponent, but the Lions earned another shutout, this time against the CNU Captains.
The Lions scored only once in the first half on a goal by senior defenseman Laura Delaney, but lit up the scoreboard with four more goals in the second half. Caruso, Grady and senior midfielders Erin Cunliffe and Coleen Weber each contributed to the rally.
Kunkel had two assists in the game, including an assist on Caruso’s second-half goal. Freshman defenseman Nikki Migliori also had two assists in the contest, while junior midfielder Melissa Martin added another.
The team members seem extremely confident and determined after the tournament triumph.
“We lost a lot of great seniors, but we are looking pretty good,” Delorenzo said.
Caruso agreed with Delorenzo’s sentiment.
“We know what it takes to be the best and we are willing to do whatever it takes,” Caruso said.
The team will take the field next in the TCNJ Adidas Classic on Saturday as they host Amherst College at 11 a.m.