Lacrosse clinched another conference title with time to spare with a 17-9 win over Montclair State University last week, extending its NJAC win streak to 16 games and giving the Lions some breathing room heading into Tuesday’s game with Rutgers University Camden.
It is the third consecutive title for the Lions (9-4, 4-0) in the past four years. It was earned in a span of 34 days, from a win against Kean University at the beginning of conference play on Tuesday, March 5 to Tuesday’s clincher.
“It was really nice to clinch the victory last Tuesday, especially being on our home field,” junior attacker Jen Garavente said. “Montclair gave us a really competitive game and it was nice to win after such a contest. However, that does not mean that we look past any competitor. We still have to go out there and play our game with a high intensity and prove we deserve that NJAC title.”
The win both ended a five-game win streak for Montclair, the only other team in the conference which was unbeaten heading into the game, and further proved the Lions’ ability to score in the NJAC, as they scored 17 goals for the fourth time in as many conference games this year.
Senior attacker Jillian Nealon and Garavente each led the team with a game-high five goals each, with the former adding three assists, and another handful of Lions got on the scoreboard.
Junior midfielder Lauren Pigott and sophomore midfielder Lauren Karpovich pitched in two goals each, while sophomore attacker Erin Waller, sophomore midfielder Kendal Borup and sophomore attacker Nicole Ham found the back of the net once each.
Junior Goalie Zinck made eight saves for the win, which was only contested in the middle of the first half when Montclair rallied from a 7-6 deficit to make it a one-goal game.
Pigott and Nealon both scored to give the Lions separation, though, and the College led comfortably for the rest of the game.
“For the Montclair game, we moved the ball well and really focused on being careful by valuing our possessions,” Garavente said. “It was really important to us that we took our time and looked for the best scoring opportunity instead of forcing shots and passes that weren’t necessarily there, which is why I think so many people were able to contribute. It was a big goal for us that we were going to try to be smarter than the other team with taking control of the game, which is why I think we were so successful.”
The Lions also battled with No. 2 Salisbury University on Friday, who entered and left their game with the College with a spotless record thanks to an 11-5 victory.
It was the largest margin of defeat this season for the Lions, whose previous worst defeat was just three goals, despite being a close contest throughout the first half and into the second.
“Salisbury is an extremely talented team and I think they just played an overall smarter game than we did,” Garavente said. “In the first half, it was pretty even, but I think we let the game slip out of our control in the second and they dominated early in the half. They are so tough because they are very fast paced, aggressive, and smart. They capitalize on the opportunities they have, which is something that we needed to do more of.”
On offense for the Lions, Garavente found the back of the net twice and three other Lions found the back of the net for the program’s lowest goal total since a 5-3 win against Rowan University in 2009.
After their game with Rutgers-Camden on Tuesday, the Lions next host Neumann University on Thursday, April 21.