Ewing, N.J. (11/2/11) – Senior Leigh Mitchell scored three times to propel The College of New Jersey field hockey team past visiting Kean University 5-1 on Wednesday in the New Jersey Athletic Conference semifinals.
The Lions, currently ranked #4 in Division III, will host the conference championship against sixth-ranked Montclair State University (17-1) on Saturday, November 5th. This marks the first time the NJAC has sponsored a post-season tournament in field hockey. The winner of that title game will also garner the NJAC's automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Division III Tournament. The Red Hawks advanced with a 4-3 overtime win over Rowan University.
TCNJ (19-2) opened the scoring just over seven minutes into the action as they scored off a penalty corner opportunity when Camille Passucci inserted the ball and then headed to the far post where she knocked in a pass from Erin Waller.
The Cougars (10-6) had their first good scoring chance of the night as they were awarded a penalty stroke after a Lion infraction with 16:13 left in the half. Junior Kelly Bachovchin took the stroke for Kean, but the shot was wide of the near post.
Kean came close again as senior Olivia Triano took a shot that worked its way to the back of the cage, only to have the officials wave it off indicating the shot originated from outside of the arc.
The Lions doubled up their lead with 4:02 left in the half as Mitchell scored her fourth of the season with an assist from Kathleen Notos. That same combination increased the advantage to 3-0 early into the second half. Sophomore Stephanie Soares (pictured left) then put Kean on the board with a hard shot from just inside the top of the arc to cut the deficit to 3-1. The goal was the first allowed by the Lions against any NJAC school this season.
TCNJ then put the game out of reach with two goals four minutes apart for the final.
Sophomore Erin Langan finished with four saves for the Cougars.