By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
EWING, NJ — For the first-time since 2011, The College of New Jersey women’s lacrosse team will be playing in the Final Four. The Lions defeated the Middlebury College Panthers, 8-4, on Sunday afternoon in the TCNJ Regional Final at Lions Stadium.
TCNJ had to defeat the only team, who defeated the team earlier this season, to advance to their 25th Final Four appearance. Middlebury defeated the Lions 6-4 on March 27th at Lions Stadium.
“I think we came out very strong and the discussion was to play our own game,” TCNJ head coach Sharon Pfluger said. “Play hard, play smart — and to continue to play our own game… I’m very proud that they’ve believed in themselves and the game plan. That’s why they were successful.”
The Panthers ended their season with a 16-5 mark. The Lions move on with an 18-1 record, as the No. 1 ranked team will now face Washington and Lee University next Saturday in Salem, Virginia.
TCNJ will be looking to capture its 14th National Championship next weekend. They were last the National Champions in 2006.
The Lions are 18-6 all-time in National Semi-Final games.
Mia Blackman led the Lions with three goals. Amanda Muller added two more, while Erin Harvey, Olivia Cleale and Allie Gorman each scored.
Gorman got the scoring going with an unassisted goal at 24:29 goal in the first half Then, Blackman scored the next two goals within a six-minute span, before Cleale added the final goal at 2:24.
Within the first three-minutes of the second half, Muller scored back-to-back goals.
Middlebury got on the board when Bea Eppler scored at 23:33. Then, Emma McDonagh scored her 40th goal of the season at 21:27.
Several minutes later, Mary O’Connell added her 44th goal at 18:23.
“Even though we shut them out in the first half, we were able to disrupt them and made constant adjustments throughout the game,” TCNJ junior defenseman Elizabeth Morrison said. “They are a very skillful team and we’ve seen them before, so they were able to scout us. Lacrosse is a team sport and that’s why we were able to do so well [on Sunday.]”
Blackman added a Man-Up unassisted goal at 6:48 for the 8-3 lead. Panthers’ Susanna Baker scored her first goal of the season with 22 seconds left for the 8-4 final score.
Panthers goalie Kate Furber made seven saves and allowed eight goals in the loss. Lions goalie Miranda Chrone also made seven saved and allowed four goals in the win.