If a soccer team can combine a productive offense with a dependable defense, then wins will follow. For the women’s soccer team this week, the team’s offense gave it plenty of goals and the defense shutout the competition twice.
Playing the first home game in over a month, the Lions won in dominant fashion, obliterating New Jersey City University 7-0. The team also won its ninth and final road game in a row, compiling an 8-1 record in that road swing with a 3-1 record in-conference.
The win is the team’s sixth shutout victory in seven games.
“We’ve been playing well as a group, and we’ve put a lot of time and effort in,” head coach Joe Russo said. “And it shows.”
In their contest against the Gothic Knights, the team got things rolling midway through the first half, when rookie forward Allyson Anderson and junior midfielder Casey Caruso scored a pair of goals in a span of 3:08.
Near the end of the half, another pair of scores were recorded by freshman forward Joanna Pisani and senior defender Jillian Casey. Pisani scored first on an assist from Casey, and switching roles, Casey netted her goal on a pass from Pisani.
At halftime, the Lions had a commanding 4-0 edge.
“It’s difficult to score in this game, but we have kids with strong personalties who are capable of scoring,” Russo said. “The good thing is that we’re always creating a lot of chances. Hopefully these last few games have given us confidence to capitalize.”
As the second half began, the offensive onslaught continued. Caruso netted her second of the game before sophomore defender Nikki Migliori got in on the action with her goal on a direct kick.
The Lions ended the huge output on a goal from midfielder Chelsea Tompkins. It was the freshman’s first of her career, and capped off the seven-goal, 36-shot day for the College.
The defense was present in the contest as well, as the combination of senior Jess Clarke and sophomore Samantha Iamurri in net gave the Lions yet another shutout victory. The team did not allow one shot on goal.
But the Lions’ stingy defense was limited to their game against the Gothic Knights. In their contest against the Scarlet Raptors, the Lions produced another shutout by a final of 2-0.
“We got used to it (being on the road), and we were away a lot more than we would have liked,” Russo said. “These kids travel well and play well on the road, but we were excited to come back home.”
After a scoreless first half, the Lions took command in the second.
Junior forward Briann McDonough imposed her will on the contest, as she recorded the game’s first goal midway through the period, and then just 2:12 later, assisted a score off the foot of sophomore forward Jaclyn Greco. The goal is Greco’s first of her career.
“She (McDonough) is the heart and soul of all of this,” Russo said. “She’s a tireless worker, and a very determined kid. We go as she goes.”
Despite only scoring two goals, the Lions dominated the stat line, outshooting the Scarlet Raptors 41-2.
As dominant as that statistic is, Clarke recording another shutout is also quite impressive. With her 39th solo shutout of her career, she now ties herself with Danielle Mastrosimone, who played from 1992-95, for second on the College’s all-time shutout list.
“I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to compete here at (the College), and there have been so many talented goalkeepers who have been successful here in the past,” Clarke said. “I know I would not have reached this point without the guidance of our great coaching staff and, of course, the dedication of our team. Although I’m the one in goal, a shutout record is a complete team effort.”
After these two convincing conference wins, the Lions now stand at an impressive 10-1 overall, including 4-1 the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC). With that type of dominant record, Russo likes his team’s prospects even more in the coming month.
“October, schedule wise, is a very favorable month for us,” Coach Russo said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
The team returns to action outside of the NJAC, as they will travel to Hoboken at 8 p.m. tonight, Oct. 7 to take on Stevens Institute of Technology.