It is not how a team starts that defines it, it is how they finish. After a sluggish first half against undefeated NJAC rivals Montclair State University, the lacrosse team put it into high gear to close out the game on a 12-3 run to win 19-9.
“It was definitely a rough start,” senior midfielder Lauren Pigott said. “They were a very aggressive team, and we had to compose ourselves because there was a lot of fouling so it was a hard-fought game. We knew it would be a challenging game for us where we would have to work for it because it wouldn’t be given to us.”
After falling behind early 5-4, the Lions quickly tightened up to take a one-point lead to end the first half. Come halftime, however, head coach Sharon Pfluger pulled her team aside and had a heartfelt motivational talk.
“She basically said that we weren’t playing our game in the first half,” Pigott said. “I think the biggest thing at halftime was calming us down and helping us to refocus and playing our game and not so much worrying about what they were doing.”
And when the second half started, the Lions did not hold back, scoring five straight goals to begin the period.
“We just started scoring goal after goal after goal, and I think we just really set off the momentum and we did a lot better job just (placing) our shots,” Pigott said. “Once we had that lead, we didn’t rush our shots and took our time and didn’t panic. I think it just started out with gaining momentum and getting the goals.”
Junior attacker Ava Fitzgerald led the team with six goals and two assists. Five more players contributed by scoring multiple goals, making the Montclair win an overall team victory.
“I can honestly say that everyone did a great job on (attack),” Pigott said. “I think that the best thing about our attack is that everyone has the complete capability of scoring, whether it is six goals or three goals.”
After beating their longtime rivals, the Lions now stand firmly on top of the NJAC conference.
“You want to be a respected team in the NJAC and I think our team and Montclair are the two top teams, so (the win) is good going into the postseason,” Pigott said. “We were able to come out on top, so it is a definite boost of confidence for us, and we get respect from the other teams in our conference, so it also prepares us for what is ahead in the playoffs.”
With the postseason quickly approaching, all eyes are on how the Lions will finish their season.
“We have three more regular- season games, so of course we want to win the rest of them,” Pigott said. “The most important thing is just keeping our intensity up in practice and in the games and making sure our confidence is high enough so we go into the playoffs feeling ready to take on any team that we might come up against.”