Five Knights prepare for Senior Day
The Rutgers women's lacrosse team said from the beginning that this season, like every season, is about getting into the Big East Tournament.
But the season will take on a whole new meaning on Sunday against Georgetown.
Five Scarlet Knights seniors will grace Yurcak Field for the final time in their lacrosse careers as the season comes to a close.
"It's always hard to see seniors graduate, especially this group that meant so much to the program," said head coach Laura Brand. "I'm also happy for them knowing what their futures hold for them."
The senior class leaves an impact from top to bottom. When the five graduate, five gaping holes will appear in the starting lineup.
But Brand knew that the future of the program was in good hands this year with the senior leadership.
"They always bring their best to every practice. They bring a lot of intensity. There's never a question about where their commitment is," Brand said. "Both in lacrosse and off the field, they're great mentors for some of our younger players."
And the senior Knights have one final chance to go out with a bang against the Hoyas (8-6, 6-1), who hold the top spot in the Big East.
"It's always nice to end with such a competitive game," Brand said. "If we do win this game, for a lot of people it will come across as an upset. It's not in our eyes. We think highly enough of ourselves that we think we're going to compete in every game that we're in."
Although the Knights' (9-6, 3-4) seniors plan to win this final game, it is also one final chance to add on to their illustrious careers.
For defender Mary Moran, it is a chance to lead the Big East's second-ranked defense one final time.
For attack Kristen Anderson, it is a chance to be a leader on the Rutgers offense, having already scored 24 goals this season.
Attack Katie Marino has the opportunity to leave an impact in her first year in the starting lineup, which she made the most of with 16 goals and a team-leading 11 assists.
And midfielder Shawn Lopez has one last chance to build upon the draw controls she had success with all season.
Last but not least, midfielder Marlena Welsh has the opportunity to cap off a standout Rutgers career.
"We're all excited to play one last time together, but it's bittersweet because we're obviously going to miss lacrosse," Welsh said.
But most importantly, the senior class has a chance to lead the future of Rutgers lacrosse one final time.
"The future of the team looks really good," Welsh said. "If you look at the stats this year, there are a lot of different scorers. And everybody has the chance to step up and prove themselves and lead the team for the coming year."
Rutgers will look into the future of the program in this final game.
"Even in the last game we got a lot of underclassmen in," Welsh said. "I'm sure we'll try to do the same thing against Georgetown."
The Hoyas head into Piscataway with a different perspective, as they hope to hang on to their top spot in the Big East.
The Knights were eliminated from Big East Tournament contention, but one thing is for sure:
Giving the Hoyas another loss would be a satisfying way for the seniors to conclude their Rutgers careers.