By George Tatoris
Last October, the field hockey team faced off against Ursinus College in what would turn out to be one of its toughest matchups of the 2015 season.
Things looked bright for the Lions as they opened the scoring, but Ursinus answered with two goals of their own in the first 14 minutes. The rest of the game went scoreless as the Lions fought to close the gap and the Bears fought to stay on top.
The matchup resulted in the College’s only regular season loss.
Almost one year later, on Thursday Oct. 13, the Lions faced the Bears once again. They continued where they left off.
Neither team scored in the first half, nor the second — and that was not out of passivity.
The Bears and Lions participated in a tug-of-war in the middle of the field in the first half, and neither team had much chance to score.
The second half saw both teams miss several opportunities, as the Lions accumulated nine shots and five penalty corners against the Bears four shots and three penalty corners, but both defenses stonewalled their opponent.
In overtime, senior midfielder/forward Jaclyn Douglas collected the ball from junior forward Elizabeth Morrison, and launched a shot at the goal for the Bears seventh save of the night.
However, Douglas quickly swept her own rebound into the net for the golden goal.
The crowd erupted and Douglas was tackled by her own teammates in celebration.
The Lions won, 1-0.
Junior goalkeeper Christina Fabiano saw the action happen from across the field.
“Jackie’s goal was amazing and (Morrison’s) assist to her was also just a great effort put together,” Fabiano said. “The girls really left it all out on the field that night.”
Fabiano was in the net for the entirety of the game and accrued three saves throughout.
“It’s been awesome being out on the field with my team,” Fabiano said. “The Ursinus game was such a hard-fought game, but I knew how badly we wanted it and I never doubted we wouldn’t come out on top.”
For the past two weeks, the Lions have dominated their competition. In addition to Ursinus, they also out-fought Rowan University on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 3-2; shutout Montclair University on Saturday, Oct. 8, 4-0; and trampled Ramapo College on Saturday, Oct. 15, 7-0 — all three of which were New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) victories.
These latest victories give the Lions a six-win streak — their longest before this was only two. After after seesawing for the first half of the season, the Lions appear to have found their footing.
Douglas decided the Rowan game on Tuesday, Oct. 4, in a similarly dramatic fashion to the Ursinus game.
The game was tied at 1 for a majority of the second half, but Rowan crawled ahead with a goal from Rachel Galante. Now behind with less than six minutes to tie it up, senior defender Lexi Smith gave the Lions what they needed when she scored the equalizer on a penalty stroke.
The game might have gone into overtime if not for Douglas, who picked up a feed from Morrison and knocked it in for the 3-2 victory. Combined with a 7-0 shutout against William Paterson University the week before, this left the Lions undefeated in the NJAC.
On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Lions faced their third NJAC opponent, Montclair State University, who put up a strong defense in the first half. The Lions seemed unable to score after seven penalty corners and seven shots.
Riding the momentum from the victory over Rowan, the Lions broke through the stalwart defense late in the half when senior defender Alexa Magnotta crossed the ball to Douglas for the first goal of the game with four minutes remaining in the first half.
The Lions kept up their constant attack on Montclair’s goal in the second half. Smith widened the gap by knocking in a feed from sophomore forward Taylor Barrett on a penalty corner, and minutes later, Douglas rattled in a goal on another penalty corner with some help from Smith.
Freshman defender Cayla Andrews provided the cherry on top by scoring off her own rebound to lead to a 4-0 shutout.
A 7-0 victory against Ramapo University on Saturday, Oct. 15, provided the Lions with their second NJAC shutout.
The Lions opened the scoring late in the first half as Ramapo goalkeeper Emily Wisneski kept the Lions out of the net for the first 27 minutes. After Wisneski racked up seven saves, sophomore midfielder Kayla Mosser fed the ball to Andrews, who sent it into the net.
In the final minutes of the first half, Smith and senior midfielder/defender Danielle Andreula brought the score to 3-0. The Lions only needed 10 minutes in the second half to double their lead.
At two minutes into the second half, Smith found the back of the net off a feed from sophomore defender Jordan Paton.
At seven, Morrison scored off a feed from sophomore midfielder/defender Sidney Padilla.
At 10, Magnotta scored her first goal of the season.
Morrison scored lucky number seven. The Lions outshot Ramapo, 40-0.
The College’s aggressive style of play means opponents have few chances to score, and the few times the offense loses control of the ball, the defense almost always keeps the ball away from the goal. In the last two weeks, only two goals were scored on the Lions in all four of their games.
“Our defense has been incredibly solid and they really haven’t allowed many shots on me,” Fabiano said. “They’ve been working hard every day and it’s really been showing.”