By Miguel Gonzalez
No team in the New Jersey Athletic Conference was a match for the Lions, thus far.
During the past two weeks, the field hockey team climbed to the top of the NJAC with four more wins, three in the conference and one out-of-conference.
On Oct. 3, the Lions mauled the Rowan University Profs, putting up a 5-0 shutout at Lions Stadium. Later on Oct. 7, the team defeated No. 3 ranked Montclair State University, 3-0 on the road.
The team returned to Lions Stadium on Oct. 10 and dispatched the Ramapo College Roadrunners in a shining 6-0 victory. On the Oct. 11, the National Field Hockey Coaches Association announced junior midfielder/defender Sydney Padilla as the NFHCA defensive player of the week for her notable defensive performances against Rowan and Montclair State Universities.
On Saturday, Oct. 14, the Lions narrowly escaped Collegeville, Pennsylvania with a tightly contested 2-1 win against Ursinus College.
At home against the Profs, the Lions silenced their opponent’s offense despite both teams recording the same amount of shots. Sophomore forward Cayla Andrews and senior forward Elizabeth Morrison led the Lions offense as they both scored two goals.
Andrews netted in the team’s first goal off a penalty stroke in the ninth minute. Afterward, the Lions overwhelmed the Profs defense with five consecutive penalty corners. In the 30th minute, Andrews struck again with her second goal when she dribbled through and backhanded a shot solid from 10 yards out.
The Lions offense did not stop their offensive charge as Padilla netted another goal off a penalty corner pass off of an assist from junior forward Taylor Barrett.
With the Lions up by three in the second half, Morrison carried the Lions offense to two more goals as the team got a 5-0 win.
After the victory, the Lions faced a heavyweight conference matchup against the undefeated 12-0 Montclair State Red Hawks. The team posted another shutout victory as the Lions held the Red Hawks to only four shots.
Freshman forward Tori Tiefenthaler got the Lions on the board in the third minute when she received a pass from sophomore forward/midfielder Kayla Peterson and tapped in the goal.
Both teams began to play more physically after the early score, recording 12 fouls. Morrison broke past the Red Hawks net in the 16th minute when she notched in her eighth goal of the season.
In the second half, Morrison scored again with seven minutes remaining. Andrews blasted a shot off a penalty corner kick and Morrison deflected the shot for her second goal of the game. Along with the three goals, the Lions also shunned the Red Hawks defense in the 3-0 win.
On Oct. 10, the Lions posted another shutout victory as they trampled the Ramapo College Roadrunners, 6-0. Freshman midfielder Samantha Reed, sophomore forward Iris Schuck, Andrews, Peterson, Tiefenthaler and Morrison all netted in goals. Meanwhile, senior goalkeeper Christina Fabiano, Padilla and the Lions defense held the Roadrunners to only two shots.
Unlike the previous victories, the Lions found themselves escaping with a 2-1 away victory against Ursinus College on Saturday, Oct. 14. With both teams tied 1-1 in the last four minutes of regulation time, Tiefenthaler knocked in the game winning goal off the left corner with an assist from Andrews.
The Lions are currently 10-2 this season and are undefeated in conference play with 4 wins. As of of Oct. 10, the Lions were ranked fourth in the nation in the weekly Penn Monto/NFHCA Division III poll.
The team will face one last conference match against Kean University on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at Lions Stadium. The match will be a battle of conference powerhouses. The undefeated No. 14 Kean University Cougars may complete their sweep of conference opponents and increase their 15-0 season record. Meanwhile, the Lions may make a statement as they compete against their fourth nationally ranked opponent this season.