With her team’s only game of the week against FDU-Florham postponed due to inclement weather, head coach Sharon Pfluger used last week to prepare for the upcoming start of New Jersey Athletic Conference play.
“I think we’ve been productive this week even though we haven’t played, so I think it’ll be alright,” Pfluger said.
The Lions will open their NJAC schedule this Friday, Sept. 16, against William Paterson University — a game that Pfluger has deemed crucial for her team’s chances of making the postseason.
“Ever since we’ve had enough teams in our conference to be an automatic qualifier, the weight of (NJAC) games has been pretty heavy,” Pfluger said. “So we don’t look past anybody.”
The Lions, who went 6-0 in conference play last year on their way to winning the NJAC, were voted to finish second this year in the conference behind Rowan University in the NJAC preseason coaches’ poll. Some teams might have taken that piece of news as a sign of disrespect, but Pfluger says her team’s attention is on the task ahead and not a preseason ranking.
“I don’t really care what the preseason poll says,” Pfluger said. “I never vote us No. 1 and the other coaches will vote as they like, it doesn’t matter to me. We’re just so into the moment that we have to prove ourselves every day, that’s just the way I think and how the girls think as well.”
The time off due to rainouts has allowed Pfluger to further prepare for the continued absence of senior midfielder/forward Leigh Mitchell and junior midfielder/forward Kathleen Notos.
“I think that we’re getting better,” Pfluger said. “I think that the little extra time has been beneficial. We’re just kind of waiting it out for some other kids to get back, but still the season goes on and there are other kids who are ready and they are doing well.”
A couple of the highlights from the Lions’ first few games without their two top scorers from a year ago have been junior defender Camille Passucci, who leads the team with 8 points, and freshman midfielder Erin Waller, who was named the NJAC Freshman of the Week last week.
“Nothing is going to stop us from getting kids in who are working hard and performing to the best of their ability,” Pfluger said. “There is always that silver lining and it just gives an opportunity for some other kids to get better, and they are, and they’re showing that in the games.”