RU?outlasts host Fairfield in overtime
It took two overtime periods, but the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team captured its fourth straight victory Saturday, defeating Fairfield, 11-10.
Sophomore midfielder Lauren Sbrilli scored the winning goal 44 seconds into the second overtime period, securing the Scarlet Knights’ fifth victory of the season.
Head coach Laura Brand-Sias was happy to simply leave Connecticut on the winning end.
“We started the game extremely flat with our effort and performance in the first half,” Brand-Sias said. “I would have loved to have a complete game so we wouldn’t have go into overtime, but obviously I’ll take the win.”
The matchup was not without suspense, as the Knights (5-3) trailed the Stags (5-3) in the first half before coming back to force overtime. Rutgers trailed, 7-3, entering the second period.
But then it took a 9-8 advantage, thanks to junior attack Annie McGinley’s score with little more than 11 minutes left in the game.
Still, Fairfield’s Kate McKinley scored with less than three minutes of play, forcing overtime.
In the first extra period, senior attack Danielle Mascera dished an assist to junior midfielder Stephanie Anderson. The goal put the Knights up, 10-9, and gave Anderson her fourth goal of the game.
The Stags responded to Anderson’s strike, finding the back of the net with 1:06 left in the first overtime on an Amanda Best goal.
The second overtime provided the game-winner, as Sbrilli struck with 2:16 left to lift Rutgers past Fairfield
Anderson was happy with the Knights’ performance after their first-half deficit.
“We kind of were coming off slow in the first half and we were down by a few goals,” Anderson said. “It was good to see our team being able to turn that around and come back and fight until the end and come up with the win.”
The slow start began when Rutgers let up Fairfield’s first goal four minutes into the game. Anderson responded with a goal to tie the game, 1-1, but the Knights’ deficit quickly snowballed into a four-goal hole entering into the second half.
Anderson pointed to the time during the locker room as the reason why the Knights staged their comeback victory.
“[Brand-Sias] commented on where our heart was and where are intensity was,” Anderson said. “She challenged us to come out with that win.”
Anderson took that challenge head on, recording two of her goals after halftime.
Big East play is now the focus. The Knights face Notre Dame in their first league game, when the Irish will Yurcak field with a No. 6 national ranking and an undefeated record.
Rutgers also enters the match hot, riding the momentum of a four-game winning streak. But Brand-Sias knows the team has to enter the match knowing the different level of play that comes with conference action.
“We need to flip the switch and focus now on Big East play,” Brand-Sias said. “Any result that has happened before this doesn’t matter. We need to put ourselves in a position to get into the Big East Tournament.”