Knights take victory with offensive surge
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team continued its historical dominance over Monmouth on Saturday with an 11-8 victory over the Hawks.
The Scarlet Knights (3-1) improved to 11-0 all-time against Monmouth and have put together back-to-back victories following their disappointing 8-7 loss Feb. 20 against Temple.
It was a milestone day for head coach Laura Brand-Sias — as she recorded her 100th career victory.
In order to achieve success without senior co-captain midfielder Stephanie Anderson, who was sidelined with a knee injury, the Knights needed other players to step up on offense.
Junior midfielder Amanda Trendell and attack Megan Clements both answered the call.
Trendell scored a career-best four goals, including a pair down the stretch that answered two Monmouth goals. She paced the Knights on the day with five points.
Clements strung together four consecutive Rutgers goals in the second half.
Head coach Laura Brand-Sias was not surprised by the performances of both athletes.
“We’ve seen them do it in practice day-in and day-out, so we were just waiting for that momentum for them to get it done during a game,” she said.
The Hawks threatened late when midfielder Kaleigh Gibbons scored twice with less than eight minutes remaining.
Trendell responded by scoring after each of Gibbon’s goals to keep the Rutgers lead at three.
The offense was able to control the ball and not make small mistakes following Monmouth goals, Trendell said.
Clements took over the offense early in the second half with a natural hat trick to break a 5-5 tie.
“The way she was scoring her goals was really impressive,” Brand-Sias said. “That always kind of brings a defense back a little bit, so that was a big momentum swing for us.”
Rutgers grabbed a 6-5 lead they would not relinquish when Clements tallied a goal less than 10 minutes into the half.
“In the first half, the offense struggled a little bit — and, I think in the second half we took our time, and we all started to work as a collective group,” Clements said. “I wouldn’t have been able to score any of those goals if it weren’t for my teammates.”
Both teams traded goals to begin the second half when freshman midfielder Chrissy Schreiber tied the game for Rutgers with her first-career goal after Monmouth took a 5-4 lead.
The first half ended with a pair of converted free position attempts, and the game tied 4-4.
Momentum shifts were frequent early on, as both teams were tied three times.
Midfielder Karlee Dean ended the first period with a goal for the Hawks — following a Rutgers penalty with one second remaining in the half.
Trendell gave the Knights a 4-3 lead, with less than four minutes left in the first half, when she scored on a free position shot.
The first half saw dominant stretches by both teams. The Knights controlled the game from the outset, but Monmouth was soon able to draw even.
The Hawks recovered from an early 3-0 deficit by scoring three consecutive goals of their own.
Rutgers found the back of the net first with a goal from junior midfielder Katrina Martinelli. She leads the team in scoring with 10 goals to go along with four assists in four games.
Trendell and freshman attack Hally Barnes each scored a goal following Martinelli, giving the Knights a three-goal lead 13 minutes into the game.