By Miguel Gonzalez
With a new season on the horizon comes great expectations, especially for the defending field hockey national champions. The Lions began their season with a 7-0 victory at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Within the first 13 minutes of the game, the College’s field hockey team scored five goals. Junior defender Lexi Smith scored first with an assist from junior midfielder Jaclyn Douglas. Less than two minutes later, Douglas scored her own goal with an assist by junior midfielder Danielle Andreula. Senior forward Alicia Wagner added a pair of goals on the scoreboard in the 11th and 12th minutes with her second goal assisted by freshman forward Taylor Barrett.
“I think, overall, it was a total team effort. Everyone played smart and together,” senior captain Mikayla Cimilluca said. “We were able to capitalize offensively early on. We came out strong and gained the lead very early on and that was a really nice thing because we got to work a lot of different combinations throughout the game.”
As the first half concluded, Andreula and Smith kept shooting. However, Ducks goalie Emily Stukenborg was on her toes blocking away. In the second half, the Lions utilized different combinations leading to Barrett who scored her first goal off a rebound. Later on in the 56th minute, Wagner completed a hat trick with a goal assisted by Douglas. Throughout the game, it was evident that the Lions put forth a great team effort.
“I was very pleased with our team’s performance yesterday,” coach Sharon Pfluger said. “Everyone played as one unit and worked diligently to achieve our goals.”
After Wagner’s third goal, the team was goal hungry, but Ducks goalie Stukenborg continued to block shots, recording 14 saves in total. Toward the end of the match, Stevens counterattacked through senior Dailyn Brook’s penalty corners. Once the final whistle was blown, the College’s offense finished with 34 shots while their defense relegated the Ducks offense to eight. Junior goalkeeper Kelly Schlupp maintained the shutout with three saves.
With their sweet 16th consecutive victory sealed, the team will arrive at Lion’s stadium on Tuesday, Sept. 8, against Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Campus.