There’s new excitement around the College of New Jersey women’s soccer team, and the Lions will be looking to prove it on Wednesday night.
The Lions (3-1), who have won three straight games and are always a national title contender, will be put to the test when No. 1 Johns Hopkins comes to Lions Stadium for a 6 p.m.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” TCNJ coach Danny Blank said. “The fact that we get this one at home probably adds to the excitement level.”
The Lions are playing very good football, outscoring and denying a goal to Haverford, Berry (GA), and Penn State Harrisburg, winning by a combined score of 11-0.
This isn’t just any team heading to Ewing, however, as the Blue Jays come to Jersey with a 3-1 record and fresh off a 2-0 victory over Lynchburg.
“I think it’s games like this that make players decide to come to TCNJ,” Blank said. “You come here to play on the big stage and face the best teams.”
And make no mistake, Hopkins is one of the best.
“It has been a top-notch program for years,” Blank said. “Now they are the defending national champions and the No. 1 team in the country. They are talented and athletic all over the pitch, their front three is extremely dangerous and they are well coached.
Coming off a 23-0-2 national championship season, the Blue Jays are led by Yardley native Katie Sullivan with four goals and an assist and Eva Breiland has a .571 goals-against average.
Gianna Pittaro of Steinert is an alumnus and Alessia Codella, who played for Peddie, is also a member of the Blue Jays.
TCNJ is playing well on both sides with junior Ava Curtis and junior Victoria D’Imperio from Northern Burlington, with each scoring two goals and an assist. Senior Sophie Vieira also scored two goals, and graduate Emma Pascarella of Allentown had a team-high three assists.
For a Lions defense that had allowed just one goal in four games, freshman Bella Norman and junior Corinne Byrum scored at different times. Junior Rachel Robichaud, junior Allie O’Keefe and junior Caroline Rebele were solid in front of goal.
“We have to outwork them, it’s as simple as that,” Blank said. “We have to make them uncomfortable all over the pitch. We have to be very organized defensively and when we get a good chance, we have to finish it.”
This will be a good test for the Lions as they look to regain their position in the national rankings and in the spotlight.
Mercer tops the win column
At Mercer County College, freshman Annika Maringer scored a hat trick and the Vikings (1-5) defeated Essex 7-2 on Saturday.
Sophomore Hannah Worrell (Florence) and freshman Natalie Villanueva (Bordentown) each had a goal and an assist.
Mercer also scored goals from sophomore Victoria Woodruff (Steinert) and freshman Laura Kucharz, while freshman Carley Karajcsovics (Steinert) recorded an assist.
On Thursday at Brookdale Stadium, the Vikings will want to continue their winning streak.
Rider drops the MAAC opener
A late goal and a very tough Marist goalie was too much for the Broncs as they lost 1-0 and are now 2-4-1 on the season and 0-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Now it’s off to Loudonville, New York and Saturday’s game against Siena (1-4-2, 0-0-1 MAAC). The Saints tied Manhattan in their first conference game.
Hannah Freeman leads the Broncs with two goals, and goaltender Ellie Sciancalepore is second in the conference with a save percentage of 80.6.
No. 13 Georgetown tests Princeton
After a tough loss to No. 6 Penn State, the Tigers postponed their game in Lafayette due to weather, and now comes another nationally ranked team, the Hoyas (4-0-3).
Princeton (3-1-1), which has played well all season, is led by Ivy leading scorer Pietra Tordin with seven goals and 16 points.
The Tigers will travel to Connecticut on Sunday to face Quinnipiac.
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