Field hockey stays calm and wins on in NJAC

Field hockey scores three unaswered goals against Eastern. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk.)

Last week, the field hockey team knew it had a lot on its plate with the first of two games coming against the competitive Eastern University. Just three days after pulling out a 3-1 come-from-behind victory, the Lions had to travel north to play the country’s second-ranked team, Montclair State University. Although the Lions were competitive, they fell short, losing 2-1 to their NJAC rival, which snapped the Lions’ 10-game winning streak. Despite this loss, the women are currently 10-2 this season and remain tied for first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

In their first game against Eastern, the Lions fell behind 1-0 early in the second half, but despite this deficit, the women were never worried.

“We didn’t panic because we knew we just had to continue to play,” sophomore defender Mikayla Cimilluca said. “We just had to pick up our game in general because I think that when they scored first, it made us all (play even harder) and get the ball in the cage so then we scored three easy goals right after that.”

The streak of goals started when junior forward Lindsey Hatch scored just two minutes after falling behind. Seven minutes later, Hatch once again found the back of the cage to put the Lions up for the first time 2-1. Moments later, junior forward Erin Healy scored the final goal of the game.

“We didn’t want them to get too comfortable with the lead, so we knew that as soon as that goal was scored, we had to come back and make a statement to win,” Cimilluca said. “I think everyone was just smarter with the ball … (Hatch) had a shot from the top of circle, and she just cranked it right in so we were really aggressive and had to get the ball in the cage.”

In the following game against Montclair State, the Lions were unable to pull off the comeback that they had hoped for after a last-minute goal by Cimilluca.  This goal marks the first goal of the sophomore’s career.

“It was exciting. Not so much so that it was my first goal, but because it was better to walk away from the game knowing that we got the ball in the cage,” Cimilluca said. “We didn’t want to leave Montclair ending on a bad note … so we left them knowing that we were there to play.”

Although upset with their performance, the Lions have moved on and are now looking toward next week with games against Albright College and another NJAC rival, Rowan University.

“We will just take the loss and see what we need to improve on and use it as a learning experience,” Cimilluca said.  “I think we just need to come out early and score right away. Especially after coming off of a loss, we want to score and keep both teams shot less and goalless.”