Lions are superior in clash of the titans

Continuing a multi-year winning streak in the conference while splitting a pair of games with ranked non-NJAC opponents, the lacrosse team had a fruitful spring break to prepare them for the upcoming road-heavy schedule.

The sixth-ranked Lions (4-1) defeated No. 10 Messiah College, 16-10, in perhaps their most high-profile win of the year so far by riding momentum in the middle of the first period into the second.

The team’s success over spring break is second to none. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

After falling behind 3-1 early, the College methodically built up a commanding 15-7 lead — scored seven straight goals at one point — as six different Lions got on the scoreboard and junior goalie Kelsey Zinck picked up a season-high 10 saves.

Junior Jen Garavente had five goals and an assist, junior Lauren Pigott found the back of the net four times, senior Alex Spark added another four points, and senior Jillian Nealon dished out a pair of assists in the win, which came after the team rolled past NJAC opponents Kean University and Ramapo College earlier in the break.

Those two wins, 17-2 over Kean and 19-1 against Ramapo, extended the Lions’ conference winning streak to 14 games and more than 1,000 days as they outplayed their opponents all over the field for a pair of comfortable margins of victory.

It was a total team effort that dispatched Kean, as eight different players got on the scoreboard including sophomore midfielders Erin Healy and Kendal Borup and freshman midfielder Megan Devlin for a goal each, as the Lions paced themselves to a commanding 12-0 lead with seven minutes left in the first half. They were impossible to stop.

The win over Ramapo was similarly efficient, as the Lions allowed just seven shots during the course of the game and hamstrung the winless Roadrunners’ offense while netting a season-high in goals.

Spark set the tone early with a remarkable eight consecutive points to start the game, as the Lions again created a double-digit advantage by halftime, while Zinck and sophomore goalie Julia Giordano shared time in net but only needed to make four saves for a near-shutout performance.

The blemish of the break came in a repeat of last year’s NCAA semifinal matchup with No. 3 SUNY Cortland, with both games ending 15-13 in favor of the Red Dragons, and despite outshooting their opposition, the Lions never managed to take the lead over SUNY Cortland.

The College also earned more than two thirds of the game’s fouls and facilitated a pair of near-comebacks that made the game close for long stretches, as the Lions went from 7-2 to 7-5 in the first period and from 14-8 to 15-13 with about nine minutes on the clock, but Cortland’s defense held firm down the stretch to give the road team already its second win over a ranked opponent.

Spark, Pigott and sophomore Erin Wahler combined for 11 goals against the Red Dragons, while Zinck made seven saves in the team’s last game in the state of New Jersey until March 28.

On Wednesday, March 20, the College visits No. 4 Gettysburg College, which is also off to a winning start, before travelling to Eastern University this Saturday, March 23 and rounding out their Pennsylvania road trip at Ursinus College. They look to continue the success that has made them a national power.