Swiveling her head to the left, freshman goalkeeper Roisin Dougherty found herself one-on-one with a forward. Despite her opponent’s best effort, Dougherty laid her body out and made the save, sustaining a shutout in the No. 3-ranked Lions 2-0 win over Ursinus College.
Dougherty has been an anchor in the cage ever since she stepped in for the injured Amanda Krause in the second week of the season, allowing only two goals and recording six shutouts.
“She doesn’t play like a first-year goalie,” head coach Sharon Pfluger said. “She’s experienced in a sense that she absorbs information quickly and she can apply it and execute.”
Dougherty and the Lions defense were a staple again in the past week as the Lions bested Ursinus, William Paterson University and Kean University, allowing opponents to only get off 11 shots on goal.
“I think the defense is playing very well,” Pfluger said. “They have to play well as a unit and there are going to be opportunities where our opponents are going to be close to scoring, but we have to come through and we are.”
The defense held tight on Thursday, Sept. 27, as the offense was able to take advantage of their opportunities. Senior forward Jillian Nealon brought momentum in the Lions’ favor in the first half with her 12th goal of the season.
Sophomore forward Erin Healy added insurance, putting the Lions ahead 2-0 seven minutes into the second half off an assist from junior forward Sarah Cummings.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Lions defense held tight again, but it was the offense that stole the show in a 6-0 victory over William Paterson.
Nealon tied fellow senior Caitlyn Jenkins with a game-high two goals, while sophomore midfielders Erin Waller and Cassandra Martin each added a score. Waller also was one of five Lions who added assists in the contest — senior Christy Wham had the team lead with two against the Pioneers.
Nealon said that the offensive prowess on Saturday was thanks to a combination of steady crosses as well as strong execution off penalty corners, an area that the Lions struggled with against Ursinus.
“In the game Saturday our forwards who were on the off-ball side of the field did a good job of covering the posts and we scored a lot of our goals that way,” Nealon said. “Both of Caitlyn’s came from beautiful cross plays, where she was able to get into good position on the post to score. Our (penalty) corners were flowing well too, so we were able to execute off them.”
Nealon added her fifth goal of the week in a 1-0 victory over Kean on Monday, Oct. 1.
Although the Lions have remained undefeated this season, they have slipped in the rankings from the top slot to third overall in Division III, but Nealon says it is something the Lions don’t take much notice of.
“Honestly, we don’t care what the rankings say, because the only one that matters is the final rankings at the end of the season,” Nealon said. “That’s a factor we have no control over, so we only focus on the things we can control. Overall our play has been good and we have a lot of potential and we are all happy about that, but potential means nothing if we don’t keep working to get better.”