TCNJ uses four-goal run to advance past Colby to NCAA quarterfinals
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Putting forth a complete effort from start to finish, TCNJ was rewarded with an 11-9 win against Colby as the Lions marched into the NCAA Division III quarterfinals.
The win was the sixth in a row for TCNJ as they moved to 15-4 on the year, while the Mules saw their season come to an end at 13-5.
The Lions will face their biggest test of the season in the quarters as they take on undefeated Trinity (Conn.). The Bantams are 19-0 following their 19-2 win against Augustana (Ill.). They are also the defending national champions.
TCNJ used a key four-goal run in the second half to put some distance between them and Colby and that spurt proved pivotal as the Mules finished the game with three consecutive goals, making the final margin two.
Sophomore Kendal Borup started that run with a goal with 24:01 left in the half, with junior Jen Garavente, senior Jillian Nealon and sophomore Lauren Karpovichalso scoring to make it an 11-6 lead. Karpovich's goal came with 14:46 remaining.
Colby finished strong, but TCNJ's defense held its ground, due in part to a 13-save performance by junior Kelsey Zinck between the pipes. As a unit, the Lions held the Mules to single digits in goals for only the third time this season.
The Lions never trailed in the opening half as Nealon started the scoring 4:34 into the game. That lead went to 2-0 just nine minutes later when Borup scored unassisted.
Colby used a pair of goals at 1:10 to match the Lions and tie the game, but TCNJ countered with three goals in a row. Borup got the first of those with an assist from Nealon, while Garavente cashed in on a free-position shot, pushing the lead back to two goals. Borup then returned the favor to Nealon as she deposited her second goal of the game with 3:46 left before the half.
That goal forced the Mules to take a time out and Colby responded with the last two goals of the period, making it a 5-4 TCNJ lead at the break.
The scoring pace picked up immediately in the second half with the teams combing for three goals in the first three minutes. Freshman Courtney Natalicchio scored 21 seconds into the new frame for the Lions and 50 seconds later Colby answered when Tess Petesch tallied for the Mules. Borup needed only 49 seconds to get that goal back as TCNJ led 7-5 with an even three minutes coming off of the clock.
After Colby made it 7-6, the Lions went on that run to set up the victory.
Borup paced TCNJ's attack with four goals and an assist, while Nealon was a factor all over the field with three goals, one assist and seven draw controls. Garavente tacked on two goals raising her season total to 60.