No. 7 Field Hockey Suffers First Loss as MSU Falls to No. 6 TCNJ, 1-0

Box Score

Montclair, NJ (10/15/11)
– Freshman forward Erin Healy (Spring Lake Heights, NJ / Manasquan) banged in a pass on the doorstep from the right side with 5:03 remaining in the second half as sixth-ranked The College of New Jersey handed seventh-ranked Montclair State its first loss of the season with a 1-0 victory at Sprague Field on Saturday afternoon.

Senior goalkeeper Shannon Syciarz (Garwood, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) stopped six shots, including one key save in the closing seconds as the Lions (12-2) took over sole possession of first place in the NJAC at 4-0 with the victory.

Junior goalkeeper Megan Bosland (Boonton, NJ / Boonton) made seven saves for Montclair State, which dropped to 14-1 (3-1 NJAC).

In a matchup of not only two of the nation’s top squads, but defensive teams as well as the Red Hawks and Lions entered the game ranked 13th and 14th, respectively in goals against average. Through the first 35 minutes shot were at a premium as MSU held a 4-2 advantage.

Each team did get a chance to find the back of the cage, however those opportunities were thwarted by great individual efforts. Montclair’s came first at the 7:44 mark as Michelle Hagel (Fairfield, NJ / West Essex) fired a shot that got past Syciarz only to be knocked away on the backline by Alex Okuniewicz (Toms River, NJ / Toms River South). Ten minutes later it would be the Lions’ chance as Leigh Mitchell (Mount Laurel, NJ / Lenape) fired a pass from the right sideline into the circle where Kathleen Notos (Pennsauken, NJ / Camden Catholic) got a stick on it in front, however Bosland deflected it away as the game was scoreless at halftime.

In the second half, the Lions turned up the pressure on the offensive end outshooting the Red Hawks 11-6 while recording 10 of its 11 penalty corner in the contest. Despite the advantage, TCNJ could cash in as Bosland made a save in the 43rd minute and defender Chelsea Keelen (Tinton Falls, NJ / Middletown South) batted away an attempt less than a minute later keeping the game deadlocked at 0-0.

The Red Hawks would get their chances too as Brooke Hullings (Delran, NJ / Delran) drove a ball that was kicked away by Syciarz at 47:58.

TCNJ finally broke through on its 11th corner with 5:15 remaining. Off the insert by Camille Passucci (Denville, NJ / Morris Knolls), Erin Waller (Sewell, NJ / Washington Township) flipped a pass into the middle for Mitchell. Mitchell was able to get the ball around Bosland over to Healy, who smacked in the feed for her eighth goal of the season with 5:03 showing on the clock.

Montclair State would get two more chances in the final five minutes. Brittany Carroll (Kingston, NY / Rondout Valley) was stymied by Syciarz on a shot in front with just over three minutes to play. Then with the clock winding down, MSU got the ball inside the circle to Hagel for a last chance. But Syciarz was able to smother the shot with a sprawling stop as TCNJ held on for the one-goal victory.

The Lions outshot Montclair State 13-10 and had the 11 penalty corners to the Red Hawks five.

Montclair State returns to action on Wednesday, October 19 as they host Drew University at Sprague Field beginning at 7:00 pm. The Lions host Kean University on Tuesday, October 19 at Lions Stadium in a 7:30 pm start.