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2014 Division III Field Hockey

Loss gives College of New Jersey victorious lessons

The College of New Jersey fielded one of the most prolific offenses in school history this season, scoring 106 goals ‒ the third most in school history, and just one shy of leading the nation. But its lone loss of the season proved it couldn’t rely on its scoring ability to win a national title.

It came in the ninth game of the season. The No. 3-ranked Lions pushed only one of their 14 shots on goal into the net in a 3-1 loss to second-ranked Salisbury University. The Sea Gulls, which finished the season with a division-leading average of 4.95 goals per game, took only six shots at the net but scored all three of their goals on penalty corners.

“It was a lesson to be learned,” said Lions coach Sharon Pfluger. “We’re scoring a lot of goals, but we have to be stellar on defense.”

The lesson sunk in immediately: TCNJ outscored its next three opponents 19-1. And it kept improving defensively, giving up more than one goal in only one match.

The defense then became the team’s rock during the NCAA tournament, opening with three straight shutouts to reach the championship match Nov. 23. And in that game, the Lions (23-1) found the perfect closure for their 11th field hockey championship: Bowdoin attempted seven penalty corners in the game’s final 10 minutes, and unlike the loss to Salisbury, the Lions fought off every one. Sophomore defender Lexi Smith made a diving save; sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Schlupp made three saves; and the Lions blocked four other shots to preserve their fourth straight shutout in the 2-0 victory.

“We knew when we made the tournament we were going to have an opportunity,” Pfluger said. “And I think they were just like, ‘This is it.’ And they were playing in a zone.”

 

The Results

Championship
TCNJ 2, Bowdoin 0

Semifinals
Bowdoin 2, Salisbury 1
TCNJ 2, Middlebury 0

Most Outstanding Player
Erin Healy, TCNJ

Elite 89 Honoree
Breck Sullivan, junior at Salisbury with a 3.93 GPA as an environmental studies major.

All-tournament team
Colleen Finnerty, Bowdoin
Kim Kahnweiler, Bowdoin
Rachel Kennedy, Bowdoin
Lauren Berestecky, Middlebury
Catherine Fowler, Middlebury
Samantha Johnson, Salisbury
Breck Sullivan, Salisbury
Lindsey Hatch, TCNJ
Erin Healy (MOP), TCNJ
Kelly Schlupp, TCNJ
Lexi Smith, TCNJ

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