Nealon’s hot start has field hockey in control

By Hillary Siegel
Correspondent

Jillian Nealon has scored a team-high 11 goals so far this season for the Lions’ field hockey team. While this feat is impressive in itself, it is more impressive when you consider that those 11 goals are more goals than Nealon scored in her first three years on the team combined. Talk about a jump.

During these first six games, Nealon impressed coaches and teammates alike.

Nealon has broken out this season.

“The team had five of the six top scorers from last year back, and Jillian has fit in with them really well,” Lyle Fulton said, the assistant sports information director for the College.

Nealon attended Hunterdon Central High School and played field hockey there all four years. She always knew that she wanted to continue playing in college. She chose the College for both the academics and the field hockey team, and she has played both field hockey and lacrosse for her entire college career.

She attributes her success thus far this season partially to her coach because they are both a part of the same athletic teams.

According to Nealon, it is “extremely helpful” that her coach understands her hectic schedule. “When I’m in season, she’s in season,” she said.

An alumna of the College, Leigh Mitchell has been Nealon’s role model for both lacrosse and field hockey. Nealon is grateful that she had such a good role model on the field.

“Being able to play with her was just incredible,” Nealon said.

When asked about the ridiculous scoring pace that Nealon is on so early in the season, Nealon described it in one word: crazy.

“It doesn’t matter who is the one putting it in the cage,” Nealon explained. “We want to be happy after the game.”

That of course means scoring as much as possible and winning. The Lions like to take the games one at a time, knowing that they can’t succeed unless they are focusing on the game right in front of them. Nealon’s goal for the season is to keep working hard, especially with tougher games coming up soon in the future. She mentioned their upcoming game against Ursinus College, a big rival and nationally ranked team, as a tough test.

In Nealon’s sophomore year, she received the NJAC Offensive Player of the Week award, and received the TCNJ Athletics Player of the Week award earlier this season after scoring four goals in the season opener against Stevens Institute of Technology.

Nealon hopes to continue her dedication to field hockey even after she graduates. She is a health and exercise science and education major. She hopes to teach physical education and coach field hockey and lacrosse.

“I chose teaching as my major so I could coach,” Nealon said.

She also plans to continue the Lions win streak this Thursday, Sept. 27, at home against 16th ranked Ursinus College. It will be a true test and Nealon will have to be on top of her game. But with the way she’s been playing, it seems like she won’t slow down any time soon.