July 17, 2019 | 92° F

Knights work on shot efficiency before test on road

Photo by Alex Van Driesen |

Junior midfielder Stephanie Anderson defends a Temple ball carrier Feb. 22 at Yurcak Field. The Knights hope to give up fewer goals at Loyola (Md.), where Anderson leads an offensive trio this year consisting of midfielders Ali Steinberg and Lauren Sbrilli that combines for 95 goals.

The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team’s 13-10 win Sunday against Cincinnati gave the Scarlet Knights seniors one last chance to compete in a home game at Yurcak Field.

But the victory also gave head coach Laura Brand-Sias an opportunity to see what the team needs to work on.

One stat stood out from all of the rest.

While the Knights (9-5, 4-2) recorded 13 goals — one of their highest scoring outputs of the season — that mark came from 32 shot attempts.

“We need to work on our shooting. I wasn’t happy with it [Sunday],” Brand-Sias said. “When you’re getting 32 shots off, you should be getting more than 13 goals.”

The absence of Stephanie Anderson in the first half can account for part of the reason for the separation in goals and attempts. The junior midfielder was sidelined for much of the period — she is still recovering from an illness — while the Knights shot 6-for-17 from the field.

Rutgers needs a healthy Anderson back tomorrow, when the Knights travel to Maryland for a matchup with Loyola.

The Greyhounds are currently tied with Syracuse atop the Big East standings, sporting an undefeated record in conference play and a No. 14 national ranking.

Loyola (8-4, 4-0) features midfielders Marlee Paton and Annie Thomas. Paton leads the Greyhounds with 28 goals this season, while Thomas has found the back of the net 24 times.

So it is up to the defense, led by senior Rebecca Alley, to keep both out of the key as much as possible — something senior attack Danielle Mascera knows is the No. 1 priority for the defense.

“The defense always has goals of how many goals they want to have scored against them,” Mascera said. “I know the defense and [Alley] have a lot of goals set for them going into the game.”

Mascera also wants the team to play the way it has all season, regardless of who it takes the field against.

“No matter who they are or what they’ve accomplished, we just have to play how we know how to play,” Mascera said.

Mascera’s recent play aids that goal. Along with junior goalkeeper Lily Kalata, Mascera earned Big East Weekly Honor Roll recognition this week. The senior recorded five assists, including three against the Bearcats, to take sole possession of Rutgers’ single-season record.

Mascera has plenty of opportunities to add to her total, as Rutgers features a scoring trio of Anderson, senior midfielder Ali Steinberg and sophomore midfielder Lauren Sbrilli. Combined, the three this season have scored a combined 95 goals.

The offense needs to appear in the Knights’ last two games. After Loyola, Rutgers plays Georgetown in a pivotal game for the Big East Tournament. The Knights are currently entrenched in a three-way tie for third with Notre Dame and the Hoyas.

Brand-Sias wants the team to focus on one game at a time.

“I know we are going to bring a great game,” Brand-Sias said. “[The team] gets fired up for big games, so we have to learn from some of the things we didn’t do the greatest job with.”

By Bradly Derechailo

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