Knights drop season opener to Owls in last minutes
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team surrendered six straight goals in the second half yesterday, allowing Temple to erase a five-goal deficit.
Owls midfielder Stephanie Markunas put the go-ahead goal past junior goalkeeper Lily Kalata with 3:31 left to play, giving them the final edge, 12-11.
The Scarlet Knights could not find the late equalizer, as their last offensive possession ended up in the stick of Temple goalie Tess Bishop.
With less than 10 minutes to play, the Owls established momentum by winning four straight draw controls. They then capitalized on the won possessions, notching three goals in a two-minute span.
Temple attack Jaymie Tabor scored two of the timely goals. The sophomore scored six goals in her first game against Oregon. Stopping her became a priority for the Knights defense.
The defensive unit, led by senior captain Rebecca Alley, stymied Tabor and the Owls offense for most of the game, but could not put together a full game’s effort to halt them completely.
“We need to find a way to keep ourselves competitive for the full 60 minutes,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “We know that was a game we should’ve won and that we had the ability to win.”
The Knights put together the strong start they wanted, establishing a 5-0 lead after only six minutes of play.
Senior attack Lindsey Watts found the back of the net first for the Knights, assisted by senior midfielder Ali Steinberg. The senior duo continued to make noise offensively.
Steinberg added the Knights’ second goal two minutes later, as the team looked for control early.
Steinberg’s second goal of the game put the Knights up, 4-0, and everything began to work for the Knights.
Forcing turnovers and scooping ground balls, the Knights showcased their physicality.
“Every 50-50 ball is ours,” Brand-Sias said to her players.
The Knights had all of the early answers to the Owls attack.
The defense blanked the Owls for more than 12 mintues before Temple’s Stephany Parcell put them on the board.
But Rutgers responded with midfielder Kristin Kocher’s first collegiate goal.
The freshman from Medford, N.J. put the Knights up, 6-1, but a late 3-0 run by the Owls closed the gap, sending the Knights into halftime without momentum.
Reestablishing their presence early in the second half, the Knights led by five before falling to the Owls’ comeback.
“We went through a few lulls,” Steinberg said. “We have to have a better mindset [in the second half]. Sometimes when you’re up by a few goals, you think you have to stop attacking. We’ll have to keep attacking so that doesn’t happen again.”
Despite the second-half dip in scoring, Steinberg continued to attack. She added a second-half goal, garnering her first hat trick of the season.
The Knights host Cornell on Saturday at the RU Turf Field. They look to rebound from their second-half collapse with a full 60 minutes of consistent play.