All posts by Mike Pietroforte

Softball breaks out the brooms and sweeps

The College softball team swept New Jersey City University in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 21 to clinch a sport in the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament.

The Lions came from behind to win a tight one in the second game, scoring three runs in the final two innings to top NJCU 4-2.

Pitching and hitting balances the College (Ashley Long / Photo Editor)

Sophomore Alex Carisone started the game on the mound but went only two innings, giving way to senior pitcher Lauren Fitzsimmons who went five strong innings on the way to her second win of the game, and 14th win of the season.

Senior left fielder Crystal Lee reached base twice in the game, stole two bases, and scored a pair of runs. Junior right fielder Michelle Casale recorded a double and an RBI.

The Lions’ offense raked in the first game. They scored five runs in the second inning on the way to a 9-0 spanking.

Right in the middle of the offense was sophomore designated hitter Nicole Broadbeck, who went two-for-three with a double and four RBI. Junior second basemen Ashley Sogluizzo burned up the base paths going two-for-three and stealing three bases.

Earlier in the week, Fitzsimmons topped the Lions’ softball record for career strikeouts. The previous record of 423 strikeouts was set by Mandy Schenck (1999-2002).

“I knew I was close, but it wasn’t something that I’ve tried to focus on,” Fitzsimmons said. “We’re really just trying to win every game.”

Fitzsimmons has been a revelation this year. Of the 21 wins the College has accumulated this season, she has been accountable for two thirds of those victories.

The Lions will take on Ramapo College in a doubleheader on Saturday. The games will be played at home, beginning at 1 p.m.

Lions struggle at the plate

The Lions softball team lost both halves of the doubleheader Saturday against a tough Kean University team. The College now stands with a 6-4 record in conference play and 17-11 overall.

The Lions dropped two to Kean on Saturday. (Ashley Long / Photo Editor)

In the first game, the Cougars put the only runs of the game on the board in the bottom of the fifth to seal the victory. Senior pitcher Lauren Fitzsimmons pitched the entire game for the College, and struck out six along the way.

The Lions managed only three hits in the contest.

In the second game of the double dip, the College put forth a better offensive effort by plating four runs, but still fell short of Kean, who scored six.

The Cougars scored three times in the first two innings to put the Lions behind early. The Lions scored some runs in later innings — two on an error in fifth, and sophomore designated hitter Nicole Broadbeck doubled in junior second baseman Ashley Sogluizzo in the sixth.

In the seventh inning the College kept fighting. Junior right fielder Michelle Casale scored senior left fielder Crystal Lee with a double. Even with their late scoring, the Lions couldn’t catch up to Kean and was stuck with the loss.

“I feel like we fought back but despite our efforts everything seemed to go against us,” Sogluizzo said. “At the end of the year we will be able to come back and win when it counts.”

Fitzsimmons came in to pitch some relief in the second game and although she didn’t get the win she struck out four, which brought her career strikeout total to 419, within four of the College record set by Mandy Schenk from 1999 to 2002.

The Lions will continue conference play at home on Tuesday against Montclair State University at 3 p.m.

Softball dominates doubleheader with Messiah

The Messiah College softball team came to the College Wednesday riding a seven-game winning streak. After a double header with the Lions softball team, they left with a two-game losing streak.

The Lions won three straight. (Ashley Long / Photo Editor)

In game one of the doubleheader, the Lions jumped out to an early lead when senior outfielder Crystal Lee scored after reaching on a walk. The Lions solidified their lead late in the game, scoring four runs in the last two innings.

Senior Lauren Fitzsimmons commanded the game on the mound, striking out five while holding Messiah scoreless through seven innings. Fitzsimmons improved her record to 7-2 on the hill. Lee went one-for-two at the plate with a triple, two walks, and two stolen bases.

The Lions exploded offensively in the second game of the series, winning with a decisive 10-2 final score. Junior second basemen Ashley Sogluizzo had a big day, going two-for-three at the plate with a double and a home run, along with a run and three RBI. Sogluizzo attributed her success at the dish to the hard work she’s been putting in at practice.

“I made a couple small adjustments with my coach and they seem to be working out pretty well,” she said. “Now I feel very confident at the plate.”

Lee continued her stellar season, going four-for-four with a triple and three stolen bases and junior rightfielder Michelle Casale chipped in with two hits, two runs batted in, and a stolen base. Sophomore Alex Carisone got the job done on the mound, pitching five innings and allowing only two runs in the win.

On Sunday conference play began. The Lions were only able to squeeze in the first game of their doubleheader with Rutgers University-Newark before the skies opened up, but the Lions continued their winning ways with a big 11-0 win, taking their streak to three games. Fitzsimmons hurled another shutout, striking out five batters in five innings.

“I have an aggressive approach on the mound,” Fitzsimmons said. “(Senior catcher) Michelle Kent and I call the game together so we have really been working together in order to figure out hitters’ strengths and weaknesses and attack them with our strengths. She has a key role in the approach that is taken on the mound.”

Junior center fielder Liz Huttner led the offensive assault, going three-for-four with two runs scored and three RBI. Sogluizzo and senior designated hitter Nicole Broadbeck also chipped in two hits each.

“Every NJAC game we play is going to be tough. They are all very good hitting teams so all of our upcoming games will be challenging,” Fitzsimmons said. “We have played many tough teams in the preseason so I feel that we are extremely prepared for these games, we just have to keep doing what we have been doing offensively and defensively.”

The softball team will continue its run of New Jersey Athletic Conference games when it play its next two games in a doubleheader on Tuesday, March 3 at Rutgers University-Camden.

Softball team takes two of four games for the week

The College’s softball team went 2-2 this week, taking two games from Muhlenberg College on Wednesday, March 21 and losing two games to SUNY Cortland on Saturday, March 24.

The Lions split a pair of series. (Ashley Long / Photo Editor)

In the first game, the Lions piled it on early by putting up seven runs in the first two innings, and closing out the game with a final score of 9-1. Senior outfielder Crystal Lee went 3-4 at the plate with a stolen base, an RBI and a run scored.

Sophomore shortstop Kristen Lake and junior centerfielder Liz Huttner also had two hits apiece in the offensive effort. Senior pitcher Lauren Fitzsimmons was dominant on the mound, allowing only one run in five innings while striking out five.

In the second game, sophomore pitcher Alex Carisone held Muhlenberg scoreless through seven innings, striking out three and walking only two. The College struck first, scoring one in the first inning when Huttner doubled to bring in Lee. Junior third baseman Kelly Hommen hit a two-run home run in the third inning to add to the lead.

The Lions’ fortune turned later in the week, when they dropped both halves of a double header in their home opener to SUNY Cortland.

Cortland took the first game with a final score of 6-2. The Lions held a 2-0 lead after three innings of play, but saw it disappear in the later innings when Cortland’s bats awoke, accounting for two runs in the fourth inning, one in the fifth, one in the sixth and then two more in the seventh. Fitzsimmons took the loss on the hill. Huttner had another good game at the plate, going two for three with an RBI and a stolen base.

The Lions lost the second game to SUNY Cortland by a decisive final of 9-1 in only five innings of play. Carisone allowed nine runs in four and one-third innings of work, and the Lions mustered only four hits in the loss.

The games scheduled against Franklin and Marshall College for Sunday, March 25 were cancelled. The Lions will resume action in a doubleheader at home on Wednesday, March 28 against Messiah College.

Softball drops two games at Salisbury Invitational

The College’s softball team had a rough day at the plate against two very strong opponents on Saturday at the Salisbury Invitational in Maryland.

The Lions struggled last week. (Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

The Lions took on Capital University in the first game. The Crusaders put the first run on the board in the third inning when their centerfielder, Jessica Stoltz, reached on a walk, was moved over to second on a bunt and eventually scored on an error.

Capital then built onto their lead in the sixth inning, when first baseman Lexi Majoy homered to right center. The Lions mustered only two hits — both doubles — from sophomore shortstop Kristen Lake and from junior centerfielder Liz Huttner. Capital pitcher Jessica Montgomery was on top of her game Saturday, allowing only four College base runners over the course of the game.

“As a team we are struggling at the plate and we will make more adjustments for the next few games,” junior infielder Ashley Sogluizzo said. “It is still early in the season so there’s plenty of time to make adjustments and be successful.”

The team then squared off against 18th-ranked Salisbury University, who finished the day with an impressive 15-5 record. Opening the scoring similarly to their first game of the day, the Lions allowed an unearned run to the host Sea Gulls in the second inning, and Salisbury didn’t look back from there, plating four more runs to hold off the Lions. Unable to respond to the Sea Gulls’ pitching the Lions fell, 5-0.

“We have to give credit to a pitcher when she is good and the Salisbury pitcher was definitely one of the best pitchers we’ve seen so far,” senior outfielder Crystal Lee said. “But on our end, we didn’t make as many adjustments as we needed to in the box to be successful. In our next games we need to come out and play hard and play to our full potential. We need to learn from our experiences this past weekend and make adjustments more quickly.”

The Lions will look to turn their play around when they take on Muhlenberg College on Wednesday, March 21 in a doubleheader, and then host their home opener against 13th-ranked SUNY Cortland in a doubleheader on Saturday, March 24.

Lions win seven in Florida

The College’s softball team returned from Florida boasting an impressive 7-3 record.

Lee has bolstered the team’s offense. (Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

The team started its regular season on Sunday, March 4 with a shutout victory over Misericordia University. The Lions jumped on the scoreboard immediately when senior outfielder Crystal Lee led off with a triple and scored on a ground ball to the second baseman. They tacked on three more runs in the third inning and held on with some very strong pitching from senior pitcher Lauren Fitzsimmons who went seven innings and struck out nine, while only walking one batter.

“My mindset is to always find any way possible to make it to the next base,” Lee said. “Whether it is an advance from one of teammates or a stolen base, I’m always thinking I need to beat the throw to the base.” Lee — who hasn’t had a difficult time finding the next base — already has three triples and eight stolen bases in the Lions’ first 10 games.

The Lions picked their game back up the next day winning a pair of games. Fitzsimmons continued her unbelievable work on the mound by posting her second shutout in as many days in a win against Moravian College. She struck out five and walked one in seven scoreless innings. The offense stepped up in their second game of the day, outhitting Simmons College 7-4.

Their roll continued on Wednesday when they beat St. Mary’s 8-0 and Neumann University 9-4. Fitzsimmons continued her dominance, striking out 10 in five scoreless innings against St. Mary’s.

On Friday the Lions were given the opportunity to avenge an earlier loss to Elizabethtown College, and with hot pitcher Fitzsimmons on the hill, they didn’t disappoint. At the end of seven innings, the two teams sat deadlocked at 2-2. In the top of the eigth inning, sophomore Nicole Broadbeck, junior outfielder Liz Huttner, senior catcher Michelle Kent and freshman shortstop Kristen Lake provided some clutch hitting to build the lead to 5-2, and Fitzsimmons shut down Elizabethtown in the bottom of the 8th to finish off the win.

“At the beginning of the week Elizabethtown was our only loss, and luckily we got another chance to face them,” junior infielder Ashley Sogluizzo said. “The second time around everyone was very excited to play. The game ended up going to into extra innings, and we were able to pull through and win as a team.”

After the Elizabethtown win, the Lions went on to drop a rough one 6-1 to John Carroll University, and on their final day in Florida beat SUNY Plattsburgh 4-1 and lost a tight game against Case Western Reserve, 4-3.

The team will resume action on March 17 at Salisbury University in Maryland.

Softball ready for big season after No. 2 NJAC ranking

The College’s softball team was projected as the No. 2 team in the NJAC preseason poll. In a tight race where each of the top four teams received two first-place votes, the Lions received three first-place ballots. Head coach Sally Miller will be eying her 450th career win this season. In her 17th season as the coach of the softball team, she is only nine wins short.

“We have several goals for this year, and if we play together and stay healthy I believe all of them are attainable,” junior shortstop Ashley Sogluizzo said. “Our first goal is to open up in Florida with a very strong showing then to win the NJAC, and then our region which would get us to nationals.”

The team looks ready for another strong season as it comes back with a number of veteran starters. The Lions will look to return this year with two prominent fixtures in the outfield, All-NJAC first-teamer Crystal Lee, senior left fielder, and junior center fielder Liz Huttner, a second-team All-NJAC selection. Huttner led the team last season with a .358 batting average, while Lee posted a league-high 33 stolen bases.

“We have a solid team defensively and dominating pitchers,” Lee said. “We just need to really focus on hitting consistently throughout the lineup so that we can be even more of a threat to our competitors offensively.”

Senior Lauren Fitzsimmons returns on the pitcher’s circle after posting a team-high 12 wins last season. Also returning to the mound is sophomore Alex Carisone who had a very strong freshman campaign last year, winning nine games en route to an All-NJAC second-team selection. The staff will receive a boost from experienced senior catcher Michelle Kent, who has started 143 games in her collegiate career.

The Lions softball team also returns a strong core in the infield, including junior third baseman and first team All-NJAC selection Kelly Hommen, veteran shortstop Ashley Sogluizzo and senior first baseman Katelyn Congilose.

“We were fortunate to only lose two seniors from last year’s team and add a few talented freshman to complete the roster,” Sogluizzo said. “Going position by position we can compete with anybody.”

The team will be opening the season with a string of 10 straight games in Florida beginning on March 5 against Misericordia University and Elizabethtown College. Their first home game will be on Saturday, March 24 against SUNY Cortland.

Both swim teams win, take NJAC titles

After winning their conference championship the previous day, the College’s swimming and diving teams stepped up and topped the highly-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology teams.

Both teams trounced Rowan to win the NJAC title. The teams have been dominant. (Lisa Nitzsche / Staff Photographer)

The men’s team (ranked seventh) upset the Stevens Institute of Technology (ranked sixth) 154-108. They swam tough in the team events, taking first in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay, and had a number of strong individual performances.

Senior Jesse Taylor took first in the 200-yard freestyle while junior Brian Giacopelli finished second — only three-tenths of a second behind. Taylor also took second in the 100-yard freestyle. Aleks Burzynski continued his stellar freshman year, winning the 100-yard backstroke with a final time of 52.87, and the 200-yard backstroke. Adam Schneider, junior, also notched two first-place finishes, taking the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly events, with times of 21.57 and 52.74 respectively.

The men’s team took on the Rowan University Profs before their trouncing of Stevens. The team won the matchup by a score of 169-103, a dominant showing.

Senior Ryan Clark took two individual events, winning the 100-free and 200-free. The team as a whole took 13 of 16 events.

The women’s swimming and diving team (ranked 11th) edged Stevens with a final score of 133-129. The match came down to the final event, and with the strong team performance in the 400-yard freestyle relay, senior Laura Pierce, senior Melissa Hessler, junior Kayleigh Shangle and junior Caroline Kelly touched the wall half of a second before the 10th ranked Ducks.

Pierce continued her hot streak, taking first in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, and Hessler won the 100-yard freestyle with a final time of 10:52.64. Shangle took first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:06.77, and the 200-yard breaststroke. Freshman Brennah Ross won the 200-yard butterfly with a 2:11.12 final time.

The team preceded the win against Stevens with an NJAC-clinching win against Rowan University.  The 194-97 win marked the 16th straight time that the women’s team has won the conference.

Seniors Melissa Hessler and Laura Pierce took two events apiece, guiding the Lions to the title. Hessler took the distance events, winning the 1,000-freestyle and the 500-free, while Pierce took the 50-free and 100-butterfly.

The Lions won’t return to the pool until Feb. 17-19 when they compete at Rutgers University in the Metropolitan Championship, an event that they’ve won the past five times.

(Lisa Nitzsche / Staff Photographer)


Both swim teams take down the Pioneers

The College’s women’s swimming and diving team pulled out a victory against the William Paterson Pioneers on Saturday, Jan. 21. The Lions’ seniors led the way, winning every event they competed in, and finishing the meet with a final score of 195-92.

The men are one win from the NJAC title. (Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Senior Traci Hofer continued her successful season, finishing first in the 100-yard backstroke with a finishing time of 1:03.32. On top of that, she swam on the winning relay teams for the 200-medley and 200-freestyle events.

Other seniors with first-place finishes were Amanda Waldner, who won the 100-freestyle event with a time of 51.37; Kelsey Herchenrider, who took first in the 100-breaststroke (1:12.47) and Danielle Morrone, who won the 100-butterfly event (1:01.46). Waldner also competed on the first-place 200-medley and 200-freestyle teams.

To cap off the victory, sophomore Sabrina Lucchesi, the NJAC Diver of the Week, prevailed in two diving events, with final scores of 286.65 in the 1-meter dive and 301.35 in the 3-meter dive.

The men’s swimming and diving team also topped the Pioneers with a decisive score, posting a 183-99 final. The Lions won all events but one (the 200-meter backstroke), and like the women’s team, the men also received a big push from their seniors.

Senior Jesse Taylor took part in the 200-free relay team that won with a finishing time of 1:30.27 and finished first in the 50-freestyle, and senior Jeff Capone finished first in the 200-fly with a winning time of 2:10.96. Fellow senior and four-time NJAC Diver of the Week, T.J. Burns, won both diving events with final scores of 327.45 and 347.92 in the 1-meter and 3-meter events.

This will be the Lions’ last weekend of competition before they compete in the Metropolitan Conference Championships. The Lions’ next meet will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. against Rowan in Packer Hall, where they will look to lock up the NJAC title.

The women took every event against Paterson. (Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

“We are starting our taper in a couple weeks, so we will be well rested and ready to go for our final meet (METS) at the end of February,” Taylor said. “Going into our meet against Rowan this weekend we are trying to keep the same mindset that has carried us through our season so far. We’re going to be focused on our final goals for the season and ready to race.”

Both swim teams drop, lose undefeated records

The College’s swimming and diving teams returned from a week of training in Aruba to compete in a tri-meet at West Chester University last weekend.

Both teams lost their undefeated records this week. (Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Both the men’s and women’s teams were 5-0 coming into the competition, ranked seventh and 10th, respectively, in Division III, as they squared off against Johns Hopkins University and the hosting Golden Rams.

“We knew going in that West Chester and Johns Hopkins are both very strong and talented teams,” junior Mike Caputo said, “We trained real hard over winter break both at TCNJ and in Aruba, and made sure we stayed mentally tough throughout the training and heading into the meet. We knew we were the underdogs and used that to motivate us even more.”

The women fell to fourth-ranked Johns Hopkins and West Chester University with scores of 131-239 and 107-251, ending their streak of 17 consecutive victories in dual meets.

Senior Laura Pierce posted outstanding finishes in the defeat, taking first in the women’s 100-yard butterfly (57.18), in the women’s 50-yard freestyle (24.34) and in the women’s 100-yard butterfly (53.07).

The College also dominated the women’s three-meter diving event with junior Danica Roskos finishing first and sophomore Sabrina Lucchesi finishing second with final scores of 282.23 and 275.93, respectively.

The men’s team took a tough loss at the hands of Johns Hopkins Unversity, losing 97-253, but fought a tight battle against West Chester University and came out the victor, with a final score of 188-180. Senior T.J. Burns compiled a strong day, finishing first in the men’s three-meter diving event with a score of 335.55, and second in the men’s one-meter diving with a final score of 310.05. The men also did well in the relays, finishing second in the 200-yard medley, the 200-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relays.

“We have to stay focused going forward and not get ahead of ourselves,” junior Adam Schneider said. “We have a tough schedule to finish out the season.”

The College will return to the water on Saturday, Jan. 21 against William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J.

Pro skater shreds halfpipe at Sig Pi Fall Fest

Red Bull’s Mini Ramp Tour rolled through Sigma Pi’s Third Annual Fall Fest on Saturday, Nov. 19. Fall Fest has become an annual celebration for students before they crack down on their last few weeks before finals.

This year Sigma Pi stepped up the event, enlisting the help of Red Bull. Skaters, both pro and student, dropped in all day to tear up the mini ramp while students watched and danced to the music supplied by the Red Bull MXT, a tank-sized truck equipped with a full DJ booth.

Pro skater Chris Springer (above) skated along with students. (Courtesy of Andrew Spada)

Red Bull-sponsored professional skater Chris Springer made an appearance. Springer got his start during the Pro-Am Dew tour back in 2009, after Red Bull got a chance to see some footage of Springer on his skateboard and offered to sponsor him.

“I was so stoked to be skating for such an established company,” the skater said.

Springer also explained how excited he was to be on the tour.

“The mini ramp tour has been sick. It’s something new in every city,” Springer said.

Springer went on to say how much he enjoyed the atmosphere at the College.

“Fall Fest was ill. I loved the atmosphere,” Springer said. “No huge crowds, no pressure, just doing what I love to do with my homies. I got the chance to meet a lot of cool people, not to mention some beautiful ladies. The DJ was killing and that just added to the vibe. All in all, it was a great experience, and hopefully we get the chance to come back next year.”

According to Springer, skating on the mini ramp tour can be different than the street style of skating.

“If I’m skating a rail or a ledge I will plan a line in my head and won’t be satisfied until I land each trick perfectly,” he explained. “However, mini ramp skating to me is more about the flow and transitions. It’s a little more spontaneous in the sense that there is constant adjusting and reacting. If I can maintain a good flow while hitting some difficult tricks, I’m satisfied.”

When asked what his mindset is while skating, Chris replied, “What goes on in my head when I’m on the ramp, I honestly couldn’t tell you. That’s why I love it. You just kind of go with the flow.”

Lions ousted from NCAA bracket by Panthers

Saturday kicked off the NCAA Division III Tournament for the College’s women’s soccer players, who made a statement in the opening round with a decisive 3-0 victory over Roger Williams University, but followed with a loss to Middlebury College in the second round.

The Lions lost in the second round. (Lisa Nitzsche / Staff Photographer)

The Lions’ offense worked best by pushing the ball up the flanks, spreading and opening up the field, then slotting the ball back into the middle, in front of the net. Senior defender Brittany McGinley continued her torrid scoring ways by netting her 13th and 14th goals of the season.

“We took a while to get going, but once we did, the goals were going in,” junior defender Kyra Janeczek said. “We pressured them most of the game.”

The first goal came in the 36th minute of regulation, a tucked in rebound from a shot by junior midfielder Amy Van Dyk. Once the Lions found the back of the net, the floodgates opened up for their offense.

They pressured Roger Williams’ net early and often with scoring chances. Sophomore midfielder Sloan DiPiero netted the second goal of the match early on in the second half, on a ball from junior forward Allyson Anderson. Then McGinley put the game completely out of reach for the Hawks by tallying the third goal of the game in the 81st minute. Freshman goalkeeper Cristina Gacos earned her 10th shutout of the year with the win.

While the Lions’ offense exploded in the victory on Saturday, it sputtered in the defeat on Sunday, which ended the team’s season.

The Lions controlled the game as they have all year, overwhelming their opponents on the stat sheets with 18 shots to Middlebury’s three. They kept play in Middlebury’s half for the better portion of the game. But they couldn’t put the ball home.

Middlebury snuck in a goal in the 71st minute, and that would be the lone tally of the game as the College’s scoring frustrations spelled the end to its season.

“This team had so much to offer, so much heart and so much talent. We would outshoot teams 18 to three or 36 to five and lose or tie. It just wasn’t meant for us,” senior defender Nikki Migliori said. “I love all of these girls and would do anything for them. I’m sad we didn’t get what we deserved.”

“Every player worked hard every day,” Gacos said. “It’s such a shame for it to end so soon. We had so much soccer left in us to play.”

The Lions nevertheless finished the season with an impressive record of 13-4-2, won the NJAC for the third consecutive year and helped Head Coach Joe Russo reach his 400th career victory.

Women’s soccer takes NJAC crown, Russo wins 400th

The women’s soccer team won two big games last week on the path to its third consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference championship. On Nov. 1, the team outplayed Montclair State for a 1-0 victory in the semifinals, and on Friday night it took home the title with another close 1-0 win against Richard Stockton College.

The team celebrated its thrid straight NJAC title and Russo's 400th victory. (Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Despite controlling the possession of the ball and the pace of the game in the first half against Montclair, the College had few scoring opportunities and no goals to show for it. Montclair seemed hesitant to press on offense, pushing only two or three players forward and keeping its numbers heavy on defense. The Lions controlled possession, but the ball was pressured by multiple Montclair defenders at all times.

The game-clinching goal came on a free kick from about 40 yards out. Senior defender Nikki Migliori lined up and lofted a ball into the box, looking for a head to put the ball in the net. Instead of getting redirected, the ball skipped at the six-yard box, past the stunned Montclair goalkeeper.

“I thought, ‘I can strike a ball from here and if I put it on net, it can go in or it will be in the vicinity for my teammates to put the ball in,’” Migliori said. “When it went in, I was ecstatic.”

On the other side of the bracket, Stockton upset top-seeded Rowan University 4-3, setting the matchup for the NJAC finals on Friday night.

Fortunate to be playing at home, the Lions continued to play their brand of soccer against the Ospreys. They dictated the pace, out-shooting the opposition at a lopsided clip of 29 shots to two. Despite all of the shots, the Lions found the back of the net only once. Leading scorer Brittany McGinley put home a rebound off of a free kick from Nikki Migliori in the 21st minute.

“We need to finish our chances,” Migliori said of the Lions’ scoring struggles. “Opportunities will come less and less as the tournament goes on, and we need to finish those few chances we get.”

Freshman goalkeeper Cristina Gacos continued her stellar season by posting clean sheets in both contests, giving her nine on the year.

Friday, Nov. 4, was a huge night for the women’s soccer program. They clinched their third NJAC championship in as many years (and 15th in the last 18 years), and Head Coach Joe Russo achieved the huge milestone of 400 victories as a coach. In his 22-year career, Russo has compiled an outstanding record of 400-48-28 with three national titles.

“It made winning the NJAC that much more special,” Gacos said. “Not only were we playing for the championship, but playing for our coach.”

By winning the NJAC, the Lions have clinched a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament and will face Roger Williams University in the first round on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Middlebury, VA .

Women’s soccer playoff-bound

The women’s soccer team lined up against Rowan University last Wednesday in a matchup of undefeated NJAC powerhouses to determine who would be the No. 1 seed in the 2011 NJAC Championship Women’s Soccer Tournament.

The team will have a first round bye in its quest for a NJAC championship. (Jess Davis / Staff Photographer)

Rowan jumped out to a lead with a goal in the 16th minute of the match. The goal came off of a corner kick on a header from in front of the net.

The Lions responded immediately in the second half, scoring one minute in. Senior midfielder Brittany McGinley continued her goal-scoring ways by putting home a rebound to the lower right corner of the net. McGinley moved from being a defender to a midfielder this year and has exploded offensively.

“Having the opportunity to play in an offensive position for the whole season has given me more opportunity at the goal,” McGinley said.

Ten minutes later, Rowan regained the lead on a goal from the right side, taking the wind out of the Lions’ sails and concluding scoring for the day.

The Lions, however, controlled the pace of the game, outshooting Rowan 24-8 and compiling seven corner kicks to the Profs’ three. The loss drops the College to second place in the NJAC and will make them the second seed in the NJAC Tournament. When asked about their outlook on the season, the team looked forward to the challenges of the postseason.

“We’re getting into the most exciting part of the season,” junior midfielder Katie Cornacchia said. “Our next game is our most important game from here on out, and we finally have a chance to prove ourselves and go far.”

“Our team is a very special team, and we can only go forward and learn from the loss,” said the Lions’ leading scorer, McGinley. “If anything, the loss has changed our way of thinking and has made us realize that we must bring our best every minute of every game.”

The team will resume play in the semifinals of the NJAC tournament against the winner of Montclair State University and William Paterson University’s first-round game