The women’s field hockey team has been one of the top teams in all of Division III this year and there aren’t many teams that can match the Lions’ talent. Unfortunately, the Lions ran into one of the few teams that can, as they lost to No. 6 Salisbury on Oct. 16.
The Lions were able to bounce back from that loss – just like they have done all season long – as they defeated Cabrini College 4-0 and Montclair State University 3-2.
“They’re all different games,” head coach Sharon Pfluger said. “But I don’t think we played well in the Salisbury game.”
The Lions allowed an early goal against the Sea Gulls, but were able to tie things up in the second half with an unassisted goal off the stick of sophomore forward Kathleen Notos.
That lead did not last long, though. The Sea Gulls scored five minutes later and reserve Kristina Fusco would add two more goals as the Lions were shut out for the last 27 minutes of play.
“We got scored on in the first two minutes and then we worked really hard to tie it,” Pfluger said. “But then we let a goal in five minutes later. I just don’t think we’re staying strong and solid. Salisbury is good, but it shouldn’t have been a 4-1 game.”
The loss was the fourth of the season for the Lions, but all of those losses have come against top-10 Division III teams. That won’t be an acceptable excuse come playoff time though, so the Lions will have to improve their play against this level of competition and limit the mistakes, according to Pfluger.
“When I watch the tape I see some crucial errors that were made,” Pfluger said. “At this level you can’t make critical errors that can cost you the game and I think we did that in those situations. We just have to
be strong the whole game through and play our game the whole game through.”
The Lions took a few steps toward that goal as they defeated the Red Hawks by a score of 3-2 on Oct. 23.
The Lions started out hot as senior forward Jessica Falcone scored two goals in the first seven minutes and junior forward Leigh Mitchell added on to that when she scored her 11th goal of the season right after halftime.
Just when it seemed that the Lions had the game won, the Red Hawks started their comeback. The Lions weren’t alarmed when the Red Hawks scored to make the game 3-1, but things got a little tense when the Red Hawks made it a 3-2 game with a little over eight minutes left.
“We were up 3-0 and we needed to play strong the whole way through,” Pfluger said. “The game was not over. I think they just got a little lax, but it was a good lesson for us because we had to fight through there at the end. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense and they knew they couldn’t make a mistake because one mistake was going to tie that game.”
The Lions other match included a rejuvenated effort after the loss at Salisbury as Notos scored two goals to put her in a tie with Mitchell with a team-leading 11 on the season as the Lions defeated Cabrini College 4-0.
“I don’t know if it’s getting easier, but I think I’m just getting used to the team and just the sport,” Notos said. “I think it’s just getting more used to everything.”
Senior midfielder Leah Geissler also provided the Lions with a little excitement as the defender scored her first career goal.
“It was very exciting,” Geissler said. “All my teammates were very supportive and very happy for me. It took four years, but I finally got it.”
The Lions will look to carry their experiences in the last two matches into their next game against No. 9 SUNY Cortland on Oct. 31.