Ramapo’s field hockey squad returned home after a five-game road stretch, but a conference powerhouse was waiting for them.
The Roadrunners lost 6-0 to The College of New Jersey Lions on Tuesday afternoon, dropping their overall record to 3-8.
While Ramapo hoped to snap a four-game losing streak, the 13-2 Lions were not easy to tame. The defending NCAA Division III champions, who are currently ranked ninth, trounced out to an early lead and never looked back.
Four minutes into the contest, Victoria Martin recorded her third goal of the season to give TCNJ their first score. Jillian Nealon added a pair of goals to boost the lead to 3-0 after 11 minutes.
Following TCNJ’s third goal, Ramapo buckled down defensively and kept them off the scoreboard for the rest of the half. Head coach Jane Koeniges said the team adjusted to the Lions’ fast paced attack and improved throughout the game.
“We still gave a lot of great pressure,” Koeniges said. “The more we played, the more we were able to keep up.”
TCNJ eventually broke the game open with another trio of goals in the second half. Nealon secured a hat trick with her 21st goal of the season, raising the lead to 4-0. Jordan Calderone and Cortney Natalicchio each earned their first score of the year to bring the final score to 6-0.
Stiffled by a Lions defense that has surrendered 15 goals throughout 15 games, the Roadrunners could not muster a potent offensive attack. With the Lions controlling the tempo for most of the game, the Roadrunners managed two shot attempts, one of which reached the Lions’ underworked goalkeeper.
Senior Rebecca Elliot, on the other hand, was busy at work defending Ramapo’s net. The goalkeeper registered 12 saves during the match.
In the first 11 games, Ramapo has played on their home turf three times. They are 1-2 at home, but their two defeats came at the hands of TCNJ and the 14-1 Monclair State University Redhawks, who trumped the Lions, 5-1, on Oct. 6.
Koeniges admitted that the unbalanced schedule created some fatigue, but also thought that constantly traveling to away games brought the team together.
“Mentally, it can get a little tiring,” Koeniges said, but added, “our team is closer because of it.”
The Roadrunners head back out to the road to face Moravian College today at 4 p.m. On Saturday, they will return home to play their final home game of the season against Mercy College.
Koeniges said that ending the season on the right track is “huge.”
“These girls have done such a good job. I want our seniors to end their career on a big note,” she said.
In a season that started with unsuccessful open tryouts in hopes of building a bench, the Roadrunners worked their way up to 15 people on the roster, which means that they boast three reserves at full strength. Koeniges, however, sees some advantages to the team’s situation.
“[Playing] shorthanded has some benefits. I feel they’re pretty close as a unit,” she said. “There are no upperclassmen or underclassmen. They’re all one team.”