Goal surge hoists RU past Jaspers
A Northeast blizzard was not enough to prevent the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team Sunday from cruising to its first victory.
The Scarlet Knights defeated Manhattan, 15-5, in their home opener after the start of the game was postponed for over 24 hours due to severe weather.
The second half began with immediate offense when senior midfielder Stephanie Anderson tallied a goal in the first 32 seconds of the second half to complete a hat-trick and make it 6-3.
Anderson said the team worked together more efficiently in the second half, once the offense settled into the flow of the game.
She would go on to score the next two for the Knights (1-0), including a goal on a free position shot.
Anderson finished the day with five goals on eight shots, matching a career high.
Freshman attack Halley Barnes earned her first-career point with an assist on an Anderson goal in the second half. She then scored her first goal with an assist from junior attack Katrina Martinelli in the second.
Manhattan (0-1) made it as close as 5-8 before the Knights scored seven straight goals to end the game.
The Knights outshot the Jaspers, 17-4, in the second half. The defense went 11-for-12 on clearing attempts after a perfect 5-for-5 start in the first half.
Much of Manhattan’s ability to stay in the game early on came when the Knights ran into foul trouble. The team committed 17 fouls in the first half, compared to only six from the Jaspers. Two of Manhattan’s first half goals came on free position shots.
“Fouls are definitely a concern when you’re getting so many being called against you, but you have to be prepared to make those adjustments,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias.
Both teams were even on fouls in the second half when Rutgers found separation on the scoreboard.
The Knights pounced on a weaker Manhattan opponent by scoring five unanswered goals in the first 13 minutes to start the game.
“It’s hard to figure out how good you are until you actually play another opponent,” Anderson said. “For us this was a good opportunity to get the jitters out and start our season.”
Martinelli, who transitioned from midfielder last season, put the Knights on the board first with an unassisted goal early in the first half.
Her performance was not a surprise given her strong preseason, Brand-Sias said.
Martinelli’s five-goal, three-assist performance against the Jaspers led all Knight performers and was a career high in points for the Moorestown, N.J., native.
Anderson followed the performance, as she recorded two straight goals for her first points of the season.
“My goals came at an opportune time. We were looking for somebody to score, and I happened to be the person to put the ball in the back of the net,” Anderson said. “I think we needed the momentum.”
Despite the offensive outburst, Rutgers showed vulnerability on the defensive side. Manhattan scored its first goal midway through the first from freshman attack Stephanie Ranagan. The Jaspers would go on to score two more unanswered to make it 5-3 at the half.
The Knights travel to Temple on Feb. 20 for their first game on the road.