By Gabriel Allen
The lacrosse team took its final two steps toward the postseason last week, as it defeated Stevens Institute of Technology 15-8 on Tuesday, April 23 and Cabrini College 19-5 on Thursday, April 25 to win its third and fourth straight games and finish the regular season 13-4.
In the win against the Ducks, Lions’ sophomore Kendal Borup’s scored the game’s opening goal, which was the first of four on the day, before the Ducks scored back-to-back goals to take a 2-1 lead.
“We didn’t panic and maintained our composure,” senior attacker Jillian Nealon said.
It’s safe to say this woke up the ninth-ranked Lions, as Stevens’ lead lasted all of 36 seconds, and the College went on to score 11 consecutive goals in a row while shutting down the Ducks’ offense for over 23 minutes.
“Stevens challenged us and we handled it well,” senior defender Becky Gilman said.
Head coach Sharon Pfluger said the key to the game was how well the Lions adjusted to the physicality of the game, but admitted they have some work to do going forward.
“It was a high paced, physical game. Our girls adjusted well to that and that’s why we were able to maintain our momentum in the game,” head coach Sharon Pfluger said. “We need to work on our fundamentals like team defense and maintaining possession,” Pfluger said. “We need to build on today’s performance and finish the season strong. We still haven’t peaked yet.”
The Lions’ aggressive offensive activity resulted in 10 free possession shots, while limiting the Ducks to three. At halftime the College held a comfortable 12-4 lead.
“We did a solid job of maintaining possession and taking smart shots,” Nealon said. “We were passing really well in the first half and everything was clicking. We were feeding off of each other and off of the momentum.”
This allowed the Lions to play it smart the rest of the way.
“Lacrosse is a game of momentum,” Pfluger said. “So it’s important for the girls to learn how to slow the game down, be patient, be aware of the clock and take smart shots and make solid movements.”
The second half was much closer as the Ducks outscored the Lions 4-3, but the game never got too close for comfort.
“The run in the beginning was really important,” Gilman said. “We’ve had some games where we started out slow and it came back to hurt us, and so getting off to a good start is always a goal for us.”
Nealon and junior Jen Garavente each scored four goals and dished an assist, while junior Lauren Pigott added three goals.
Yet despite the victory, the Lions remained hungry and focused on improving heading into the season finale against Cabrini.
“There are still some things we can clean up,” Nealon said. “In the second half we made a few mistakes.”
The Lions continued that momentum to close out the season with a similarly dominant win over the Cavaliers at Lions Stadium on Thursday, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and never looking back to score 19 goals for the fourth time this season.
Garavente paced all players with five goals and junior goalie Kelsey Zinck made 10 saves for the team’s seventh home win in eight tries.
The end of the season will leave the Lions inactive until Sunday, May 5, when they will find out the NCAA Tournament field.