TCNJ Women’s Soccer moves on to Elite Eight

By Maximillian C. Burgos | Staff Writer

Ewing, New Jersey – The College of New Jersey‘s women’s soccer team blew out their opponent in the Lynchburg College Hornets 5-0. The score does not truly reflect how the game truly went.

The whole game was hard fought by both teams. Lions got out to a fast start, scoring two goals in the first five minutes. All-time goal scorer for the Lions, forward Christine Levering was the first to put the Lions on the board.

In the first four minutes, midfielder Jessica Goldman kicked a through ball that split defenders to the outside, giving Levering the ability to break away in the middle of the pitch. With one fake, Levering nailed a goal in the lower right-hand corner of the goal.

Goldman became TCNJ’s third all-time assist leader with her assist to Levering.

“I didn’t know that,” Goldman said after the match, unknowing of her accomplishment. “Any assist is special. With the first assist, I looked up and saw Levering and just gave her a good through ball into the ball line. But yeah, it is a little more special that I got it in this game to get us to the elite eight.”

Christine Levering (Photo by the TCNJ Sports Information Department)

Christine Levering (Photo by the TCNJ Sports Information Department)

Less than five minutes later, the Hornets goalie punched a ball out of the box. Midfielder Kelly Carolan caught the deflection and returned a bomb in the lower right-hand corner of the goal. The Lynchburg goalie showed her clear frustration, but the team’s morale did not waiver.

Lynchburg tried hard in the first half to get back into the game, but they only managed to squeak one shot in the entire half. The Lions defense just seemed to be impenetrable for Lynchburg.

In the second half, the Lions seemed not to play as well. They did not concede a goal, but Lynchburg was able to possess the ball better and get seven shots before time expired in the second half. Unfortunately for Lynchburg, they only had two shots actually on goal.

Even though the Lions did not play the same way that they played in the first half, they did score more often and played at an elite level.

“I thought today in the first half we played exceptionally well,” Lions head coach Joe Russo said after the game. “In the second half, we really got away from the way we are capable of playing. It’s a good group. I think when we play our style, when we are finding feet and really connecting, that we can create a lot of dangerous chances to score.

“In the second half, it was funny, we didn’t play as well but we did score goals. We were very opportunistic and fortunate on a couple of those drives where we just finished. That’s the game. That’s just the way it is.”

Defenseman Jen McGrogan opened the floodgates for scoring in the second half. She set up a free kick from thirty yards out and just unloaded a beam to the upper right-hand corner for the goal. The Lynchburg goalie had no chance to save the attempt.

The goal marked McGrogan’s first of the season. She looked shocked as her team embraced her for celebration.

“Normally when I take free kicks from there, I look for the back post, just to send it in,” McGrogan said recalling the kick. “I heard from the coach on the side, ‘look at it’. That’s our code word for taking a shot, you could probably get us in. I just gave it all I could and it hit the top post and went right in. It was amazing.

“Getting that third goal was crucial. I am just so honored to be apart of this. My body was just so overwhelmed with joy that I just froze. I couldn’t wait to go celebrate with my team.”

The Lions ran away with the score from even further from there. Three minutes later, forward Hannah Richman scored a goal where she drove hard through the middle of the box. She beat multiple defenders and took a hard shot that hit the right upper 90. Midfielder Elizabeth Thoresen was credited with the assist on the goal.

Thoresen would score a goal of her own less than two minutes later from nine yards out. The Lynchburg goalie bit on Thoresen’s fake and let the goal through with little chance to block it.

The Lions continued the game and finished the clean sheet with authority. On one particular drive, where Lynchburg attempted to penetrate the Lions’ back line, defenseman Kelly Wieczerzak put her body on the line to block a potential shot. She slides for the ball, maintained possession while standing and cleared the ball to shut down the offensive push.

After it was all said and done, the Lions won the game 5-0. They outshot their opponent 13-9. Lynchburg played a good game, but not good enough to get on the board or surmount the Lions impressive offense.

The Lions will take on Messiah College tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 19th in the Elite Eight bracket. Messiah destroyed their opponent, MIT Engineers, 5-0 in the game after the Lions. The game will ultimately be the No. 1 ranked Lions against the now, No.8 Messiah.

The Lions are favored in the match since they are still undefeated and are currently No.1 in the country, but anything can happen in any given game.

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