Last Tuesday’s game against Cabrini College was an extraordinary one for the Lions field hockey program, as head coach Sharon Pfluger captured her 500th career win in a 4-0 shutout against Cabrini College.
In her 29 years of coaching at the College, Pfluger has won eight NCAA Division III national championships and has had five undefeated seasons. The victory makes Pfluger just the second Division III coach to reach the 500-win milestone, and her .835 winning percentage is the highest among all DIII coaches.
“We were all so happy for her, especially because it made everyone realize what a historical program (the College) is, so it was something great to be a part of,” sophomore defender Mikayla Cimilluca said. “She didn’t really dwell on it much because she doesn’t boast about that stuff, so we were all playing for her and everyone else who was part of her 500 wins.”
Although there may have been a lot of hype prior to the game, Pfluger said the preparation was no different.
“I didn’t even know I was (that close) until the day before,” Pfluger said. “Afterward, when I saw the alum there and there was the celebration, it gave me time to reflect about how lucky I was to be surrounded by so many great people.”
Nearly 200 people attended the game to witness the historical 4-0 victory over the Cavaliers. The Lions (3-1) did not disappoint the crowd, as they started off strong with two early goals by junior forward Lauren Hatch and never let up.
“I was very happy with the way the girls played,” Pfluger said. “I thought that we were explosive and took advantage of our opportunities, so I was pleased because they played like a team.”
In the Lions’ following game against Juniata College, the women started right where they left off with a 4-1 win. The matchup against the Eagles (3-3) was much closer than the score indicated.
“It was very back and forth, but we were able to capitalize on the opportunities in the offensive circle early on in the game,” Cimilluca said. “We held the strong lead and didn’t let them come back and score more points.”
A main part of the success was due to the strong play of junior goalkeeper Amanda Krause, who registered a career high of 11 saves.
On Tuesday, Sept. 17, the Lions will travel to Richard Stockton College for their first conference game of the season. Each game in the New Jersey Athletic Conference is important if the women want to qualify for the national championship at the end of the season.
“We just need to come out strong because they are a very aggressive team,” Cimilluca said. “It is very important, so we need to play a good game.”