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No. 5 Lions pull past Blue Jays, roll over Pioneers

Photos courtesy of Sports Information Desk

Left: Thoresen dribbles past an opposing defender. Right: Lions score consistently this season. By Michael Battista Staff Writer The women’s soccer team increased its undefeated streak to five games last week. The Lions defeated Johns Hopkins University, 1-0, in their home opener on Sept. 13, in overtime before earning their first conference win against William Paterson University, 4-0, on Saturday, Sept. 16. The recent history between the nationally No. 5 ranked Lions and No. 9 Blue Jays has been well documented. Coming into Wednesday’s game, senior forward Christine Levering knew that. “They’re always a good fight,” Levering said. “We just know coming in that it’s going to be a hard, physical game… Every year it’s always a tough one.” Levering herself has the most experience against the Blue

Jays on the Lions roster. In 2013 during her freshman year, after both sides played to a draw during regulation, Levering scored the game winner 13 seconds into the second overtime period. After a 2-1 loss in 2014, the teams have drawn in their yearly match-ups in both 2015 and 2016. The most recent meeting between the two ranked powerhouses nearly ended the same way. The first half of the game was evenly contested in the middle of the field with neither team getting many chances. On the wet turf of the Lions Stadium field, neither team could control the ball for long or with much confidence. In all, both teams combined for six shots in total in the first 45 minutes, with the Lions getting four. In the 37th minute, senior forward Hannah Richman was able to bring the goalie out and get past her. With an open net, the Blue Jays backline pressured her into shooting the ball wide keeping the score level at nil.

In the second half, the Lions offense immediately became the dominate force in the contest. Just four minutes in, senior midfielder Jessica Goldman sent a corner right to senior midfielder Kayla Bertolino. The latter took a shot that seemed to be going to the net, but senior goalkeeper Bess Kitzmiller was able to make an incredible jumping block to send the ball over the crossbar. In the first 15 minutes of play, the Lions took 15 shots. Kitzmiller saved two of those shots. The Blue Jays defense was busy as three players had to step in front of shots and block them with their bodies. In all, the Lions put up 17 shots in the second half compared to their opponents’ three. Head coach Joe Russo said the difference between the two halves was tempo. see SOCCER page 22

Field hockey fails to resurrect offense against Messiah

Photo courtesy of Sports Information Desk

Peterson scores the Lions’ lone goal. By Connor Smith Editor-in-Chief Normally 11 saves and a second-half shutout are both signs of a rout for the No. 4 ranked Lions. But the Messiah College Falcons aren’t a normal opponent. Despite one of the strongest defensive efforts of the season, the Lions fell 2-1 to the No. 1 Messiah Falcons on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Lions Stadium, which dropped their record to 3-1. This could’ve been a statement win for the Lions, matched up with the defending national champions and current National Field Hockey Coaches Association ranked leaders. But the Falcons’ unforgiving attack — which included 17 total shots, and 13 on goal — chipped the Lions down early and often. “We like to look at every game with equal importance but I think we’re all really hyped

Lions Lineup September 20, 2017

I n s i d e

up for this game in particular,” said senior goalkeeper Christina Fabiano two days before the game. “Given the season they had last year, we’re really excited to show that we can compete with the best.” The Falcons opened up the game with a few strong possessions. After several turnovers, the Falcons scored at the 12:27 mark on a loose ball shot from senior forward Taylor Holt. The Lions answered back with a few promising possessions, but they couldn’t convert. With just under 11 minutes left in the half, a turnover in front of the goal netted junior forward Kezia Loht a score of her own and extended the Falcons lead to 2-0. After the score, Lions coach Sharon Pfluger called a timeout. Pfluger, who leads all NCAA Division III field hockey coaches in active wins and winning percentage,

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didn’t want Messiah to run away with the momentum, and stopped the clock for a quick pep talk. “Coach has been in this position time and time again, so she’s as prepared as a coach can possibly be,” Fabiano said. “It’s a great experience playing for someone who knows the magnitude of the game, but also wants us to play relaxed and have fun.” Whatever Pfluger said must’ve worked, because the Lions fought right back and immediately kept each play inside Falcons territory. Less than three minutes after the timeout, sophomore forward/midfielder Kayla Peterson scored on a penalty corner to give the Lions some life and cut the deficit to one score. With a renewed sense of energy, the Lions continued to push the Falcons back. They took a shot and attempted a penalty corner, before the clocked ticked down. At the end of the period, the Lions got another penalty corner attempt, which led into another penalty corner. Unfortunately for the Lions, neither netted a score and the half ended with the Falcons on top, 2-1. The Lions defense was a major force in the second half. Senior goalkeeper Christina Fabiano dipped and dove her way to eight saves in the second half alone, for a careerhigh of 10 total saves in the game. The offense couldn’t do much against the equally potent Falcons defense, which broke up several scoring opportunities and kept the majority of possession time in favor of the Falcons. The Lions squandered the few opportunities they had. They sent a few shots too wide late in the game, and

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Cheap Seats page 22

were forced off the ball in a crucial breakaway opportunity. Once again, the Lions found themselves in a penalty corner situation with seconds remaining. The Lions passed the ball around, but their shot was blocked and the Falcons ran out the clock and secured the win. Players and coaches did not stick around for post-game interviews. After an emotional meeting at midfield, the Lions packed up, marched straight out the away entrance and headed home to reflect on the heartbreaking loss. Despite the loss, the Lions gave Messiah one of its closest matchups in a year. The offense will have 12 more regular season matchups to grind for a possible appearance in the NCAA Tournament. With Messiah out of the picture for now, the Lions will focus on winning another New Jersey Athletic Conference title. While they’re the favorites in the NJAC, the Lions must still play out each game in the coming weeks. The field hockey team returns to Lions Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, against Gwynedd Mercy University. Then on Saturday, Sept. 23, team will play Salisbury University at Lions Stadium at 6 p.m. By shutting Messiah out in the second half, the Lions proved they can roll with the best team in the nation. They know they were a few missed shots and a turnover or two away from a monumental upset. Even with a loss, what the Lions learned against Messiah should be critical to their success this upcoming fall.

Around the Dorm page 23

Profile for TCNJ Signal

The Signal: Fall ‘17 No. 4  

The 09/20/17 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper

The Signal: Fall ‘17 No. 4  

The 09/20/17 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper

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