No. 4 TCNJ Erases Early Deficit, Knocks off No. 1 Gettysburg

EWING, N.J. The College of New Jersey erased an early four-goal deficit and held off a late charge by top-ranked Gettysburg to prevail 17-15 at Lions Field Friday night.

The setback was the first of the year for the defending NCAA Division III champions (7-1) and it put a halt to Gettysburg's 12-game winning streak stretching back to the start of the 2012 national playoffs. Fourth-ranked TCNJ improved to 9-1 with the victory.

Senior Hannah Church (Ellicott City, Md./Mount de Sales) and freshman Bridget Kenny (Gladstone, N.J./Bernards) each turned in four goals for the Bullets, the former adding two assists for six points. Senior goalkeeper Maddie Coleman (Lexington, Va./Rockbridge Country) posted 11 saves in the cage.

Only four players lit the lamp for TCNJ with Alex Spark touching the net a game-high six times. Lauren Pigott and Trenna Hill each scored four goals, while Kathleen Notos tossed in three and dished out one assist.

Friday's battle marked the fifth time since 2000 the two Division III powers squared off with one team ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Lions had won three of the first four such meetings, including an 8-7 thriller in Gettysburg last spring.

TCNJ jumped out in front with two of the first three goals Friday night, but Gettysburg roared back with five goals in just under six minutes. Church struck three times, the last coming on a man-up opportunity that made it 6-2 with exactly 19 minutes left in the opening period.

The Lions countered with the next six goals, the first three by Notos, to gain the upper-hand. Sophomore Kelsey Markiewicz (Salisbury, Conn./Berkshire School (Mass.)) ended the run with the first half's final goal, but TCNJ came right back with four goals to start the final period of play. Hill tossed in each of the final three to set the advantage at 12-7 with 22:48 to play.

Markiewicz once again stepped up and stopped the run with a free-position goal. Gettysburg then capitalized off the draw, winning back-to-back possessions and turning them into quick scores by Church and sophomore Loren Pruitt (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) to close the gap to 12-10 with 16:59 on the clock.

After a five-minute drought for both teams, TCNJ's Spark lived up to her last name by igniting the offense with four of the next five goals scored to push her team ahead 16-11 with only 7:11.

Gettysburg was nowhere near finished as Kenny started a four-goal run off a feed from sophomore Katie Blumenthal (Malvern, Pa./Academy of Notre Dame) at 6:36. After Blumenthal scored on a free position for the third goal of the streak, junior Lindsey Robinson (Potomac, Md./Holton-Arms) struck just 31 seconds later to pull the Bullets to one goal at 16-15 with 3:19 on the board.

Gettysburg won the ensuing draw, but turned the ball over on the way to the cage. The visitors rebounded by taking it away from TCNJ on the other end of the field only to lose it once again with 1:44 left. The Lions took advantage as Pigott tossed in an insurance goal at 1:39.

The visitors won the game's final draw, but TCNJ's defense held firm, forcing another turnover with just over a minute to play. Despite regaining possession, the Bullets came up empty on the final possession as Pruitt hit the post with 51 seconds left.

Team stats were near-identical with both teams taking 35 shots and splitting 34 draw controls. TCNJ held a 20-19 edge in ground balls and forced Gettysburg into 14 turnovers.

Markiewicz finished with two goals, one assist, two ground balls, one caused turnover, and four draw controls for the Bullets. Robinson and Pruitt each added two tallies. Junior Alex Casey (Jenkintown, Pa./Abington) scooped up four ground balls and junior Mairead McGuirk (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll School) came up with four draw controls.

Leigh Mitchell dished out a game-high five assists and corralled three draw controls. Notos produced an all-round effort with six draw controls, two ground balls, and two caused turnovers to go with her offensive exploits. Kelsey Zinck made eight saves in the victory.

Gettysburg has a short rest as the team resumes Centennial Conference play at home against Swarthmore College tomorrow (March 31) at 2:00 p.m.


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