By Zach Gilleland
Coming off back-to-back shutout wins, the fifth-ranked Salisbury University women’s field hockey team returned to Sea Gull Stadium for its second home game of the year Saturday, defeating ninth-ranked College of New Jersey 3-1.
The Sea Gulls’ (7-1) offense attacked the TCNJ defense heavily throughout the first half, firing 13 shots. Sophomore forward Emily Lemanski found the back of the cage less than five minutes into the game, giving Salisbury an early lead.
“The beginning of the game I knew we had to score,” Lemanski said. “So I saw Casie [Preisch] pass the ball from the right side and Becca [Rinaca] just missed it, so I had to come up and shoot it. It was a big win today, we worked well together and we were able to pull through.”
Salisbury scored its second goal of the game with sophomore forward Catherine Sweeney scoring off a penalty corner. Freshman midfielder Arielle Johnston deflected a shot past TCNJ goalkeeper Kelly Schlupp, allowing freshman forward Rachel Domanico to find Sweeney for the finish.
Senior midfielder Abbey Shobe added her team-leading ninth goal of the season that forced the lions to make a change at goalkeeper. Shobe’s goal would send the Sea Gulls to the half with a 3-0 lead.
“Score fast, score often, that’s what we tried to do,” Head Coach Dawn Chamberlin said. “We missed a couple of opportunities in the first half, we just have to make sure we’re taking care of the ball. I thought we were getting good looks, putting good pressure on the goalie and in the circle and as long as we can keep doing that they’re eventually going to go in.”
TCNJ came into the game with the 13th ranked scoring offense in the nation. The Sea Gulls held the lions without a shot in the first half and have not allowed a shot in the first half at home this season.
With a three-goal lead, the Sea Gulls took a more defensive approach in the second half with junior goalkeeper Tressie Windsor being tested by an aggressive TCNJ offense. The defense frustrated the lions, stopping a series of penalty corners, blocking shots and making saves including a diving stick save by freshman midfielder Jillian Hughes.
The Lions eventually scored their first goal of the game when back Lexi Smith scored with nine minutes left in regulation. TCNJ threatened again late, but a stop from senior back Jessie Todd kept the Lions from making it a one-goal game.
Windsor would finish the game with five saves. Windsor and the Sea Gull defense have allowed only one goal in the past three games.
“We got an idea that [TCNJ] was going to come out firing in the second half,” Windsor said. “We knew that we just had to play poised and decided to step up our level of play instead of holding back and controlling the game. It’s a huge win, I’m very happy and just to shut down a team like that is a huge advancement for us in the season.”
Playing a high-scoring team in TCNJ, Chamberlin was happy to see her defense shut down the lion’s offense.
“We played phenomenal defense today, I couldn’t ask for them to do anything more,” Chamberlin said. “We worked hard on that this week, making adjustments to some areas we thought we had some weak points and we really held strong today. A good team like that it’s hard to keep them off the board and to just give up one goal is pretty phenomenal.”
With three-consecutive wins, Salisbury heads to Fredericksburg, VA to face Lynchburg College Wednesday before hosting Mary Washington in its CAC opener Oct. 1.