College loses 1st two, drops in NSCAA rankings; Lions defeat Gothic Knights for second place tie in NJAC

Junior defender Brittany McGinley goes for the ball against a Pioneer. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

The Lions got hit hard during these past two weeks, marking their first and second losses of the season. The other two games went down as wins for the Lions, ending the week 7-1 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and 13-2-1 overall. The College dropped from No. 3 to No. 18 in National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National and Regional Rankings after their second loss to Johns Hopkins University.

“We have a target on our backs and teams really want to take us down so if we come out even a little bit slow, they can take advantage,” freshman goalkeeper Kendra Griffith said.

The College fell to NJAC competitors William Paterson University 1-0 at home Wednesday Oct. 13, knocking them from the first place slot in the conference. The Lion’s had two big opportunities to tie up the game. In the second half, the officials ruled it a handball, negated a goal netted by junior forward Brenna Rubino. A second opportunity came when junior defender Nikki Migliori took a free kick within the Pioneers’ penalty box. The ball slipped past a number of guarding defenders, but the goalkeeper knocked it away.

Junior captain and midfielder Annie McCarthy said that the team had a weak practice the previous Tuesday, and they came out “flat” against William Paterson.

“Already, there has been a change in intensity,” McCarthy said.

The College needed to get back on their feet, and repair their broken 10-game winning streak. Luckily, head coach Joe Russo said there was very little to be done to get the team ready. “They understood what was at task,” Coach Russo said.

The following Saturday, the Lion’s shut out NJAC competitior Kean University 2-0. The first half ended in a stalemate, but with the day’s strong wind on their side, the College dominated the second half, netting two goals. The goals against Kean were scored by sophomore Katie Landrigan and sophomore foward Jessica Davila.

Just after half, the Lions took 17 shots on goal, and the Cougars only attempted one on net.

On Wednesday, the Lions kicked off in Baltimore to play the nationally-ranked Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays and let another loss slip past, 2-0.

“The Johns Hopkins game was definitely a wake-up call,” Landrigan said. “We realized after the game everyone had to be more focused every day at practice and not lose sight of what we are about.”

“To lose a game like Johns Hopkins is just really frustrating,” said Griffith, who saved a career-high seven goals during the game. “We were the better team on the field we just didn’t prove it.”

As of the day before the game, JHU was nationally ranked No. 22 of all Division-III women’s soccer teams.

This past Saturday, the Lions defeated New Jersey City University for the 16th consecutive time. The Lions achieved a final score of 4-0. Rubino scored two goals, the second being a header. Sophomore midfielder Toni DeMaio and Davila netted the other two.

Luckily, only one of the losses was to an NJAC team, so the team’s win over NJCU swung the College into a tie for second place in the NJAC standings with the Rowan University Profs. The College will battle Rowan, a big rival, on Wednesday, Oct. 26, for the last game of the regular season.

“I have been excited for the Rowan game all season. It’s going to be crazy,” Griffith said. “We just have to be as fired up as we can ever be. We have to play like it’s our last game.” Rowan and the College are both tied with 21 conference points and a conference record of 7-1-0. The two are close behind William Paterson at 22 points, with a record of 7-0-1.

A win over the Profs would mean the Lion’s finish second in the NJAC, giving them a 1st round bye in the conference tournament.

According to Landrigan, “We try to look at the season as one game at a time, each game bringing us closer towards our goal of a national championship.”