The No. 5 ranked Lions made a strong opening statement in their 9-4 victory over undefeated Frostburg State University on Sunday. Junior midfielder Kellyn Riley began the scoring early, with the first two goals of her hat trick coming five minutes into the game. Within seconds of Riley’s second goal, freshman forward Emilie Taylor scored her first goal as a Lion to put the home side up 3-0.
“One of our goals as a team is to try to score within the first couple minutes of the game,” Riley said. “The connection and passes between my teammates was the way I was able to score so quickly. We didn’t fumble with the ball and we passed quickly, which led us down the field to two quick goals.”
The Bobcats attempted to make a statement of their own with goals in the sixth minute by junior forward Breanne Russell and the 20th by junior forward Lindsey Frost. But the Lions answered back with one last goal by sophomore Alexandria Okuniewicz to give the Lions a 4-2 advantage before the half.
Riley completed her unassisted hat trick early on in the second half with a penalty corner, breaking through the Frostburg defense once more. The Lions defense also proved to be a force to be reckoned with. Sophomore Goalie Shannon Syciarz saved four shots on goal throughout the course of the game.
Underclassmen continued to make their presence known in the second half. Freshman Caitlyn Jenkins capitalized on the Lions’ drive with two goals — one in the 48th minute and the other in the 56th. Junior Mary Waller and senior Jess Falcone also added to the tally with goals in the 51st and 55th minutes, respectively. Although she scored no goals, senior Gabby Cafone came up big with three assists in just seven minutes. The Bobcats were only able to find the back of the net twice more in the 55th and 64th minutes thanks to junior forward Brooke Tapman and senior forward Sammy Stalter.
The Lions finished the game with 27 shots to the Bobcats’ eight.
“My teammates were able to create a forward momentum up the field and with crisp passes we were able to get right into the circle and shoot,” Riley said. “It’s like the saying, ‘you miss all the shots you don’t take,’ so we try to take as many quality shots at possible to score as many goals as we can.”
The most impressive statistic of the game was not the amount of shots or saves from the Lions. It was the fact that there were no offsides or disciplinary cards the entire game.
The Lions’ first five games are at home, with the first four against non-NJAC colleges. But that doesn’t lessen the pressure of competing.
“When we get on the field the only game that matters is the game we’re playing right then and there. It doesn’t matter who the team we’re playing as played before us or what their record is. All we think about is what we can do to win,” said Riley.
The Lions’ continue play this Thursday when the College hosts Manhattanville College at 7 p.m.