By Maximillian C. Burgos | Staff Writer
The College of New Jersey‘s field hockey team ended their season with a 5-2 win over Eastern University on Saturday afternoon. The Lions ended their regular season with a record of 13-3, which places them fourth in the country, according to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
After capping off their regular season, the Lions look to the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament, where they will face Rowan University in the first round. The Lions will host the game on Wednesday night, November 1st.
The Lions have struggled against ranked competition this season, losing multiple games by small margins. The Lions suffered losses to Messiah College, Salisbury University and Kean University, who all currently rank No.1, No. 6 and No. 10 in the nation respectively.
The Lions looked solid in their last match of the regular season. Midfielder/defender Elizabeth Morrison has mounted a noteworthy senior campaign that has seen her score 15 goals on the season and a total of 37 points.
Not to be out done, forward Tori Tiefenthaler has also shined as a freshman on the team. She has accumulated 34 points and 15 goals on the season as well.
Both Morrison and Tiefenthaler played integral roles in the Lions climbing to fourth overall in the nation and winning their last regular season game of the season.
Donning her trademark red, white and blue bandana, Morrison scored two goals in the game against Eastern. She scored the first one in the 30th minute and again in the 55th minute. Morrison would later talk about her team’s performance.
“It took us a while to score against them in the first half,” Morrison said. “They are a really strong team, like all the teams we play. That’s why we have such good strength of schedule. But their goalie also did very well. She was going down for the ball a lot, so it took us a long time to lift the ball over her. But once we scored, once I scored, we had an easier time scoring.”
Tiefenthaler scored to cap the Lions scoring at 5 in the 66th minute of the game. She scored on a deflected shot by forward Cayla Andrews. The Eastern goalie Nicole Berger tried to cover the ball for a second save, but Tiefenthaler expertly poked the ball by her.
The game ended 5-2, with the Lions on top for the 13th time this season. Head coach Sharon Pfluger talked about her team’s performance and the upcoming NJAC tournament after the game.
“It feels great to win,” Pfluger said. “We are excited for the tournament. I think we needed to get through [Saturday’s performance] first to take the next step. It is a very exciting part of the season. It’s almost like a new season, this postseason. I feel good about it, I felt good about [Saturday], and we are going to take it one day at a time.”
The Lions have outscored opponents 65 to 14 this season. They also rank sixth in the nation for average points per game. Even though they have had a high-powered offensive attack, they have also stayed relatively mistake free, not drawing too many cards this season.
The Lions feel good moving forward. They feel they can really make a deep playoff run. Wednesday’s game will be their first step.
TCNJ last won the national championship during the 2014 season.
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