Owls provide chance for self-assessment
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team travels to Philadelphia today to face Temple for its first road test of the season.
The game is an examination for the Scarlet Knights, one they must pass to put questions surrounding the team to rest.
Not only are the Owls a more formidable team than the Knights’ last opponent, Manhattan, they defeated Rutgers in its’ 2012 home opener, 12-11.
The Knights dropped three of four games to start last season, putting themselves in a difficult hole early.
With the competitiveness of the Big East, early nonconference victories are vital.
“We need to play our best against Temple and prove what Rutgers lacrosse is really all about,” said junior attack Katrina Martinelli.
Rutgers enters the game following a 15-5 home victory against the Jaspers on Sunday, when the Knights scored seven unanswered second-half goals.
Senior midfielder Stephanie Anderson and Martinelli scored five goals each to lead Rutgers.
One similarity between Sunday’s game and last season’s outing against Temple was the Knights’ inability to carry momentum into the second half.
Rutgers allowed three unanswered goals at the end of the first period in each game, which resulted in a two-goal advantage at the break.
“I think last year we kind of overlooked Temple, and this year we have to come out fighting and not take any team for granted or lightly,” Martinelli said.
Rutgers needs Anderson’s offensive presence and others to fill the spot of former midfielder Allie Steinberg.
In last year’s game against Temple, Steinberg led the team with five points. She was the second-leading goal scorer last season for Rutgers.
With Anderson taking over captain responsibilities, she looks to continue her productivity. But the Knights still need a second go-to goal scorer.
Martinelli showed her offensive capabilities after her first game at the attack position. Yet her role on the team is subject to change.
Rutgers brought in freshman Halley Barnes, the No. 5-ranked attack in the country, according to ESPN Recruiting Services. Barnes scored her first goal and tallied her first assist against Manhattan.
A stingy Knights defense allowed only 12 shots on goal against Manhattan.
“They did a great job of executing the things they have been learning in practice, really coming together as a team,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias.
Senior goalkeeper Lily Kalata only needed to make three saves in 30 minutes of play. She split the workload with senior Aimee Chotikul, who allowed two goals in the second half.
The Owls’ top goal scorer from last season, midfielder Stephanie Parcell, returns for her senior year after scoring 35 goals last year.