By Miguel Gonzalez
Over the past two weeks, the College’s field hockey team dominated the competition with shutout victories against No. 20 Eastern University, No. 5 Montclair State University and Ramapo College of New Jersey.
For the week of Sunday, Oct. 11, the New Jersey Athletic Conference named Jaclyn Douglas as the offensive player of the week for scoring four goals during the College’s victories against Eastern University and Montclair State University. Last Saturday, the Lions remarkable 27-game winning streak came to a final halt at Collegeville, Pa., where the Ursinus College Bears handed the Lions their first loss of the season.
The No. 8 ranked Bears defeated the College, 2-1, after holding the Lions scoreless in the second period.
The Lions struck first with a penalty corner by freshman forward Taylor Barrett in the eighth minute. Barrett’s pass went off to freshman forward Elizabeth Morrison who gave the ball to junior defender Lexi Smith. Smith executed the shot for the Lions’ only goal of the match. The Bears followed with an equalizer in the 13th minute when senior forward Danielle Stong scored with a pass from senior midfielder Megan Keenan.
In an instant, the Bears’ offense overwhelmed the Lions’ defense with shots from junior forward Amber Steigerwalt and senior forward Devin Brakel. However, junior Lions goalie Kelly Schlupp saved both of the shots.
“She faced some tough shots and was able to stop a lot of them. She’s a great goalkeeper for us,” senior captain Mikayla Cimilluca said.
Despite Schlupp’s saves, the Bears gained the lead when Keenan scored off a penalty corner. Schlupp’s goaltending secured the Lions’ defense for the rest of the first period as Schlupp recorded two more saves.
The second period featured gritty defensive performances from both the Bears and Lions as both teams were held scoreless. During the first 10 minutes, the Bears’ core offense of Stong, Keenan and Steigerwalt challenged the Lions’ defense with multiple shots. Similar to the first period, Schlupp fortified the net with three saves. In the 46th minute, the Lions’ offense countered with a string of penalty corners from Barrett.
Smith attempted to send the match to overtime but her shots were blocked and saved by Bears’ senior goalie Danielle DeSpirito. As time was expiring, the Lions scrambled for a goal with no prevail.
Overall, the Lions’ offense was limited to five shots and nine penalty corners while the Bears’ offense accelerated with 18 shots. Schlupp reinforced the defense with a total of 12 saves.
“Ursinus was a good competitive game for us,” Cimilluca said. “Each game is a learning experience for us. We’ve accomplished a lot this season and we have a great group of girls who work hard each and every day because we all want to reach the ultimate goal of getting to the national championship game.”
Since the Lions’ previous loss to Salisbury University on Sept. 27 of last year, the Lions have proved to be the NCAA Division III’s perennial field hockey team with a national championship, 27 consecutive victories including 16 shutouts, 107 goals scored and more recently, coach Sharon Pfluger’s 1,000th career victory.
The Lions will be looking to start another winning streak when the 10-4 Rowan University Owls visit Lions’ Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20.