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Lions pace increased in win over JHU

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By Grant Playter | Staff Writer

This game had a noticeable change in pace between the first and second halves of the game, bringing key differences between these two Top 10 schools to light.

During the first half of the game, there was a lot more midfield play relative to shots taken. The College of New Jersey had a total of four shots, two of which were goal shots saved by Johns Hopkins Blue Jays goalie Bess Kitzmiller. JHU made just one shot, a shot on goal by Carly Lepton-Smith. By and large; however, the first half of the game was a test of endurance to see which team could keep fresh legs on the field longer.

Christine Levering (Photo by the TCNJ Sports Information Department)

Christine Levering (Photo by the TCNJ Sports Information Department)

Come the second quarter; however, the pace of play exploded from TCNJ. The mid-field game faded as breakaway after breakaway occurred. After the first half, TCNJ added 17 shots and six shots on goal. Kitzmiller was worked overtime, making an astonishing seven saves over the course of the night.

“We talked about it and we saw ways to work around their formation,” Christine Levering said, who scored the game winning goal in overtime for the 1-0 win. “So we kinda spread the ball out wide, played quicker, and I think that ultimately we created more opportunities to score.”

This abrupt shift highlights the difference in depth between TCNJ and JHU. Come the end of the first half, the substitutions JHU made had a noticeable impact on the quality of their play, while TCNJ was able to keep up their rapid pace in spite of roster changes.

While the lack of starters on the field showed in the uptick in shots allowed on both ends, ultimately it was the depth of talent in the TCNJ team that opened the gap needed for Levering’s game-winning goal in overtime. TCNJ’s well-rounded nature may prove crucial going into the NJAC conference.

“I think we have to play at this level, we can’t be all over the place.” Lions head coach Joe Russo said. “It’s one of the better conferences in the country with Rowan and Stockton and Montclair. It’s just a grind out gritty-type conference, it’s a tough one, so hopefully we’re ready on Saturday.”

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