RU works on scoring chances before Hoyas matchup
Rutgers head women’s lacrosse coach Laura Brand-Sias made it very clear how she felt about Saturday’s loss to Loyola (Md.).
“We went in feeling like we should win the game, and I felt like we should have,” Brand-Sias said. “I’m not going to go into a game and say, ‘Oh, I’m happy that we performed well against a highly ranked team.’ I really don’t care who we play — I think we should be coming out with the win.”
The Scarlet Knights (9-6, 4-3) get another opportunity to leave a game with a victory against a ranked opponent tomorrow, when they travel to Washington, D.C., to face off against Georgetown on CBS Sports Network, Rutgers’ first appearance this season on national television.
The Hoyas (8-6, 4-3) enter the match ranked No. 15 after their 7-6 overtime loss to No. 7 Notre Dame. A win clinches the fourth and final position in the Big East Tournament for Rutgers.
But while starting fast has not been a problem for the Knights in their past three games, Brand-Sias wants to see a more dependable approach to scoring when Rutgers starts the first half.
“We have to start consistent,” Brand-Sias said. “I don’t necessarily want to say we have to start fast because that makes it sound like if they get a couple goals [early], we’re not in the game.”
Against Loyola, the Knights rattled off four straight goals to start the game. Loyola fought back in the first half to tie Rutgers, as both teams traded scoring bursts to a 9-9 halftime tie.
What worries Brand-Sias the most is not her team’s ability to score, but when the Knights choose to execute. Rutgers gave up a four-goal scoring run to Loyola in the second half and looked hesitant when it wanted to find the back of the net toward the end of the game.
A similar occurrence took place in Rutgers’ previous game against Cincinnati. Though the Knights pulled out a 13-10 victory against the Bearcats, they also went on a scoreless drought that resulted in four straight goals by Cincinnati to end the game.
Brand-Sias wants to see that change against the Hoyas, who lead the conference in shots attempted and are third in goals scored.
“We got a little stagnant with scoring in the second half [against Loyola],” Brand-Sias said. “In the second half on offense, we were waiting on a goal and waiting on certain [teammates] to step up and do something rather than working as a unit.”
For the offense to be more reliable, it is up to the midfielders to produce consistent drives and shots against a Georgetown defense that allows fewer than 11 goals per game.
The responsibility falls on the scoring trio of senior Ali Steinberg, junior Stephanie Anderson and sophomore Lauren Sbrilli. All three midfielders enter the game with more than 30 goals this season.
But against Georgetown and on national TV, patience is the game Brand-Sias wants to see in a do-or-die contest for Rutgers’ playoff aspirations.
“They’re a very disciplined team and very methodical in what they do,” Brand-Sias said. “We need to compete for the complete 60 minutes and play our best lacrosse.”