EWING, N.J. – Ursinus hung with last year's Division III runner-up TCNJ into the second half inside snow-covered Lions Stadium on Tuesday, putting up a strong offensive showing against one of the nation's stingiest defenses before the 6th-ranked Lions pulled away for a 15-6 victory.
Senior Taylor DeBernardi and junior Emily DiGiorgio netted two goals apiece for the Bears (2-4), who managed to double up TCNJ's fourth-ranked defense that came in allowing only three scores per game. The Lions have not surrendered more than six goals since 2016.
Ursinus was right in it for the first half of the first period, getting to within 2-1 on senior Franny Liberatoscioli's free-meter goal at the 17:40 mark. The Lions (5-1) rattled off four consecutive tallies, two of them on eight-meter conversions by Kathleen Jaeger, to move in front, 6-1.
DiGiorgio brought the Bears back with the game's next two goals, one on an assist from junior Abby Goldstein and the other with just 30 seconds remaining in the first half, but TCNJ found the back of the net with only two ticks showing on the clock to take a 7-3 halftime lead.
DeBernardi's free-position goal just 1:12 into the second stanza sliced the deficit down to three again, but TCNJ scored six in a row to put the game away. McNeave scored on a free position with 12:54 to go, and DeBernardi capped Ursinus' offense with her second of the day at the 4:58 mark.
The Lions posted a 35-12 advantage in shots and forced 30 turnovers, but the Bears outperformed them on the draw by a 12-10 count. McNeave totaled a career-high six draws, while Liberatoscioli joined junior Emily Blaszkow and freshman Hannah Reape with two apiece.
Senior Alycia Hildebrand caused three turnovers and scooped up three ground balls to lead the defensive effort in front of junior Kaitlyn France and freshman Maddy Vaughn. France made seven saves in the first half, and Vaughn collected four in the second.
Allie Gorman led TCNJ with five goals, and Emily Morrison had five caused turnovers.
Non-conference play behind it, Ursinus opens Centennial Conference competition against the other half of last year's title game in defending champion Gettysburg. The Bears get underway against the top-ranked Bullets Saturday at 3 p.m.