Knights take aim at early scoring runs
Saturday’s 13-7 win against Monmouth provided the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team with not only a satisfying second-half performance, but also a blueprint for today’s game against St. Joseph’s (4-4).
Using Monmouth as a backdrop, head coach Laura Brand-Sias expects to follow a game plan similar to the one Monmouth used to edge St. Joe’s, 10-9, on Feb. 28 in Philadelphia.
For Monmouth, its highlight came in its defense’s ability to limit the Atlantic 10 Conference’s leading scorer, Grace Dinn.
Connecting on 48 percent of her shots, Dinn’s ability at the net becomes threatening for the opposition.
But the Hawks held Dinn in check, limiting the senior to only three goals on 12 attempts.
But for the Scarlet Knights (3-3), borrowing Monmouth’s formula is only the beginning.
They need to prove first they can avoid another slow start.
“The most important thing for us is finding the remedy for that first-half slump we had in the last game,” Brand-Sias said.
Plagued with a lack of execution, the Knights found themselves with their backs against the wall against the one-win Hawks.
But the Knights escaped, earning their third win by putting together a 6-1 run in the second half.
“We have to go in with the confidence we need, expecting to play our best, and get a good win,” said senior co-captain Ali Steinberg, an All-Region midfielder.
Coming off of a five-goal performance, Steinberg said the momentum continues to build not only for her, but for the team, as well.
With the components of a full squad coming together, Steinberg sees a difference in her team.
“Each game, we’re starting to play a little better,” she said. “We’re starting to feel each other out, read cuts and work well together rather than just having a few players charge the goal each time.”
But where there is confidence with the squad, there is also the modesty to take one game at a time.
Junior attack Annie McGinley said the team must not look past the competition or its 15-0 all-time record against the Hawks.
“We need to not think this is an easy game,” McGinley said. “Every time we seem to do that, it’s a much harder game for us.”
To avoid making the game more difficult for themselves, the Knights must also avoid the fate that troubled their success early in the season.
Surrendering a late lead to St. Joe’s cross-town rival Temple, the Knights found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-0 run. Falling to Cornell, 8-7, on a late-game winner three days later, the Knights could not find a way to close.
They have since resolved their late-game struggles and reversed their state of play when they struggled out of the gate against Monmouth.
Brand-Sias wants the team to figure out how to play the whole 60 minutes at the RU Turf Field.