Lions remain undefeated in NJAC

By Miguel Gonzalez
Staff Writer

The Lions concluded their regular season with two commanding victories against the Albright College Lions, 6-0, and the Kean University Cougars, 6-2.

Cimulluca and Wagner are honored before the match. (Photo courtesy of Sports Information Desk)

For the week of Sunday, Oct. 25, junior defender Lexi Smith received her fourth honor as the New Jersey Athletic Conference’s (NJAC) defensive player of the week for her outstanding defensive contributions during the Lions’ victories against Rowan University and William Paterson University.

“Smith leads a TCNJ defense that has recorded four shutouts in league play and leads the conference with a 0.20 team goals against average in NJAC play,” according to the press release.

While for most students, Halloween was spent watching frightening movies and munching on sweet candy, Saturday, Oct. 31 at Lions’ Stadium was a moment of Lion pride. Families and friends came out to the field in honor of the team’s senior day as the College celebrated the accomplishments of its seniors — midfielder Mikayla Cimilluca and forward Alicia Wagner, with a 6-2 victory against conference foe Kean University.

The game was also special thanks to Play 4 The Cure, a fundraising program dedicated to helping fund cancer treatments through competitive play. The team participated in breast cancer awareness month, wearing special pink outfits during warm-ups and had a table set up for donations outside the stadium.

On the field the Lions took the lead over Kean momentarily when freshman forward Taylor Barrett scored in the fifth minute. Smith quickly followed up with a shot off of Barrett’s penalty corner, but sophomore cougar defender Shauna LaMaina thwarted the shot for a defensive save.

Barrett adds a goal to the shutout against Albright College. (Photo courtesy of Sports Information Desk)
Barrett adds a goal to the shutout against Albright College. (Photo courtesy of Sports Information Desk)

In the 11th minute, the College’s sophomore midfielder Taylor Nesnay scored off a rebound for her second goal of the season. The Lions struck again immediately, when Barrett assisted Wagner and caught the Cougars’ defense unaware for another goal. Without delay, the Cougars countered when sophomore forward Krista LaMaina took a shot, but the College’s junior goalie Kelly Schlupp made the save it to hold the match, 3-0.

The second period featured more offense from Kean, while Smith led the Lions with a hat trick. The Cougars gained their first goal of the match when Krista LaMaina scored off an assist from senior forward Chelsea Mann.

In the 46th minute, Smith scored on a penalty stroke goal after being fouled by Shauna LaMaina. Within four minutes, Smith netted another. Not long afterwards, the Cougars attacked the Lions’ defense when Krista LaMaina scored off a penalty corner assisted by sophomore defender Katie-Lynne Lussier.

Smith capped off her hat trick performance with a penalty stroke goal in the 65th minute.

The Lions finished off the regular season with a 16-1 record while remaining undefeated at 6-0 within the NJAC.

In the midst of a strong season, the Lions have scored 74 goals total with an average of 4.35 goals per game. Smith (19 goals), Wagner (16 goals) and junior midfielder Jaclyn Douglas (14 goals) are currently the team’s highest scorers. Freshman standout forwards Barrett and Elizabeth Morrison have contributed eight goals apiece. Schlupp has proven to be a dependable force with 50 saves, and only conceding 10 goals. The Lions’ defense have limited opponents to 0.59 goals per game while completing an outstanding 10 shutout victories.

With the regular season concluded, the Lions await to face the fourth-seeded William Paterson pioneers for the first round of the NJAC tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at Lions’ Stadium.