Then and now: Lions’ sports streaks

A team on a winning streak can strike fear into opponents even before stepping onto the field; so can a team on a winless streak. Case in point: In 1948, Lions Athletics Director Earl Dean had difficulty scheduling football games not because the Lions were so good, but because they hadn’t won on the gridiron in 10 years. Opponents feared the stigma of being the first to lose to the College, Dean told reporters. When the Lions finally tasted victory again—a 7–6 defeat of Montclair on November 10, 1949—it ended what was then the longest winless streak in collegiate football history: a 0–40–3 run that included a stretch of 28 consecutive losses.

This PAT, kicked by Bob Zardus ’55 in November 1949, ended what was then the longest winless streak in collegiate football history.

Six decades later, another Lions sports program is in the midst of an even more astounding streak. TCNJ’s women’s tennis teams have won 142 consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) matches. That’s every conference match the program has played since the NJAC started sponsoring the sport in 1982. Other Lions teams have enjoyed winning streaks during this time period: The wrestling program won 54 consecutive dual meets between 1990 and 1996; in 1987, the women’s softball team had 17- and 20-game win streaks; the field hockey team finished 2011 on a 14-game run, its last win coming in the NCAA title game; and women’s swimming and diving teams won 17 straight NJAC dual matches between 2009 and 2012. But none of those streaks can match the sustained dominance TCNJ’s women’s tennis program has displayed over conference foes.

Just how remarkable is the streak? Consider this: When it started, none of the 2011 team members had yet been born, and current Head Coach Scott Dicheck was playing in Junior Tennis leagues and sporting a Björn Borg-style mullet.

Last fall, a now sensibly coiffed Dicheck coached his team to the program’s 29th straight NJAC championship. A quick look at the NJAC record books shows winning consecutive conference titles is a TCNJ tradition. Men’s cross

TCNJ’s women’s tennis program hasn’t lost a conference match in 29 seasons.

country has won 18 straight, while a 16-year streak for the women was snapped last fall when the team finished second to Rowan. (Coincidentally, it was also a Profs team that, 20 years ago, snapped an 11-year streak of titles for TCNJ’s women runners. As the saying goes, “Boo Rowan!”)

In track and field, TCNJ’s men’s and women’s indoor programs have won 14 consecutive NJAC titles. The men’s outdoor program has won 13 straight, while women’s outdoor teams have won 19 straight. In fact, TCNJ women have won every NJAC/JAC outdoor track and field crown since the conference first awarded one in 1983—except in 1992, when Rowan, then known as Glassboro, spoiled the streak. (Boo Glassboro!)

Nothing compares to that sustained thrill of victory that comes from a winning streak—just ask Charlie Sheen. (“Winning, anyone? Rhymes with winning.”) And while any Lion will tell you team success trumps personal stats, we’d be remiss not to mention these impressive streaks compiled by former Lions.

During his senior year, Vinnie Cino ’88 reached base in 14 consecutive plate appearances for the baseball team. His streak is just two shy of the modern-day MLB record set by Ted Williams more than 50 years ago. In football, John Aromando ’86 caught at least one pass in 34 consecutive games for the Lions. That type of consistency earned him the nickname “Moneyman.” And speaking of consistency, two alumnae can claim the title “Iron Woman” in their respective sports. Danielle Mastrosimone ’96 started and played in 67 consecutive games for women’s soccer, while Mary Waller ’11 did it 64 straight times for lacrosse. Both are program records.

If nothing else, sports streaks make great debate fodder for sports fanatics. So we ask you: Is one of these streaks the most impressive in Lions’ sports history? Or is there another one we didn’t include that you think warrants attention? Write us at magazine@tcnj.edu and let us know what you think.

3 Responses to Then and now: Lions’ sports streaks

  1. [...] All season long, the field hockey team meticulously practiced penalty corners. That effort paid off in the ultimate prize when the Lions scored a pair of goals off penalty corners en route to a 3–1 win over Middlebury College in the NCAA Division III championship game in November. It was the program’s 10th NCAA title overall. Senior goalkeeper Shannon Syciarz was named the tournament’s most valuable player, finishing with a whopping .979 save percentage with a miniscule 0.25 goals against-average with three shutouts. Joining Syciarz on the all-tournament team were senior Alex Okuniewicz and juniors Camille Passucci and Kathleen Notos. “This team has a great feel of what a national championship team is made of, and they played championship smart the whole tournament,” Head Coach Sharon Pfluger ’82 said after the win. The team finished the year 24–2, riding a 14-game winning streak. How does that winning streak stack up against others in Lions’ sports history? Click here to find out. [...]

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