RU?survives scare from visiting SJU
Despite a late charge from St. Joseph’s, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team held on long enough to emerge with an 8-7 victory last night against the Hawks at the RU Turf Field.
With little more than five minutes remaining, the Scarlet Knights’ lead stood at four goals, but four minutes later, the Hawks cut the lead down to one.
The St. Joe’s attack strategy was not quick-hitting, but rather deliberate, which helped lead to the late charge.
Winning the opening draw control and 11 of the next 16, St. Joe’s wasted no time showing off that offensive mentality.
For the Knights (4-3), countering the patient Hawks (4-5) attack became the focus.
“They definitely had a set game plan to stall against us,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “Normally we would take a little bit more control on the defensive end, but the calls were not going our way.”
The Knights were flagged for 16 fouls in the first half, 10 more than the opposition.
While the officials were heavy on their whistles, Brand-Sias said the calls were up for interpretation.
“The officials were interpreting our play as fouling,” the 10th-year head coach said. “On some of them it was, but a lot of it I didn’t agree with.”
While the tempo favored the Hawks, the Knights found ways to succeed.
Ironically, the answer for a patient offense is a patient defense.
Co-captain Rebecca Alley said the team’s answer to negate the slow tempo was composure.
“We had to stay composed and wait for them to make a mistake,” she said.
The Knights did just that as they converted turnovers to quick scores.
Junior midfielder Stephanie Anderson led the Knights attack, scoring four goals.
Slowing the pace even more and not having the ability to press, Brand-Sias found Rutgers tied at the half, 4-4, with the visiting Hawks.
“We played 45 to 50 minutes of defense,” Alley said.
Despite the long possessions, the Knights held the Hawks offense to three goals while converting four second-half scores on the offensive end.
Following the halftime break, St. Joe’s greeted the Knights with another clock-draining possession.
But junior goalkeeper Lily Kalata ended the Hawks’ chance at an early second-half lead with her third save of the game.
The Knights then went on a 4-0 run, as Anderson connected on her second and third goals of the game to expand the Knights’ 5-4 lead to a four-goal margin game with 6:14 left.
And when those final minutes ticked off of the clock, Rutgers found itself on the winning end, lifting its record above .500 and extending its winning streak to three games.