Loss in finale sends Rutgers home without postseason berth
Everything was in place for the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team Saturday as it controlled its playoff chances.
Win and advance to the Big East Tournament. Lose and go home.
After a fast start and a halftime lead, the Scarlet Knights could not put the Hoyas away, losing their season finale, 9-7, along with their chance at playing in the Big East Tournament.
“We had some good moments,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “But what really killed us was getting the draw control in the second half and the amount of turnovers we had. We just didn’t play to our full potential.”
Junior midfielder Stephanie Anderson gave the Knights (9-7, 4-4) their biggest lead of the second half with 26:24 left on an assist from senior attack Danielle Mascera.
But the offense faded after Anderson’s strike, along with Rutgers’ chance at advancing to the postseason.
Part of Georgetown’s (9-7, 5-3) success goes to Caroline Tarzian, who scored three straight goals to put the Hoyas up by one with nine minutes remaining. Her goal at 9:01 was her fourth of the game. An unassisted goal by Kelsi Bozel at the 3:24 mark sealed the Knights’ fate.
“I feel like it wasn’t our best,” said senior midfielder Ali Steinberg. “I feel like we could have done better, and it was just a disappointment. They were just adapting really well to what we were doing.”
Junior attack Annie McGinley put the ball between the pipes eight minutes into the first half on an unassisted shot. Steinberg scored off of another Mascera assist, and McGinley’s second score at the 18:36 mark moved the Knights lead to 3-0 against the No. 15 Hoyas.
Georgetown responded with two goals, but Rutgers kept the Big East’s third-leading scoring team out of the key and managed two more goals by senior midfielder Brittany Davis to enter the locker room with a 5-4 lead.
But it was also the third straight game the Knights faded in the second half.
Rutgers held a 4-0 lead against Loyola (Md.) and went shot for shot with the Greyhounds, culminating in a 9-9 halftime score.
But Loyola soon pulled away with two separate scoring drives for the win.
“I think we come out of the gates really inspired and fired up to get after it,” Brand-Sias said. “But once we allow teams to get on a little bit of a run, it kind of allows our momentum to get down and our mindset to get down, which can be hard to recover from.”
With the win, Georgetown clinched the fourth and final seed in the Big East Tournament. The Hoyas play against No. 1 seed Syracuse on Thursday, as the Orange host the conference championship. Loyola, the No. 2 seed, plays No. 3 seed Notre Dame the same day.
The loss marks the last game of the season for the Knights, and the finale for the careers of five seniors.
For Mascera, the loss comes with frustration despite her single-season assists record at Rutgers. She registered two dishes to bring her to 34 on the year.
“Obviously it was a big disappointment,” Mascera said. “We had a goal to get to the Big East Tournament. It was in our hands that we were either going to win and go or going to lose and weren’t. We worked really hard.”