Junior steps up on defense for Knights
When the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team allowed only six goals in Saturday’s win against Villanova, it proved to be on pace with the defensive standard it set for itself.
The Scarlet Knights allow on average just more than six-and-a-half goals per game, which sits only behind Stony Brook for the best in the nation.
“Whenever we go into a Big East game, the goal is typically [to allow] seven goals,” said junior defender Erin Turkot. “We think if we can hold a team to seven [goals], we’re going to win. [I] don’t care if we score eight, don’t care if we score 15, but we want to hold someone to seven knowing that we can get the [win] out of it.”
With 13 caused turnovers, 11 groundballs and two draw control wins this season, Turkot’s numbers are in line with most of the experienced defenders on the team.
Head coach Laura Brand-Sias said the defenders are mainly consistent because they have bought into the system of playing within a team-oriented defense.
“It’s more a matter of people doing what they’re supposed to do in the grand scheme of a team defense, so [Turkot’s] just good at doing her job,” Brand-Sias said.
With last year serving as an adjustment period with the addition of assistant coach Lisa Staedt Ojea, Turkot said the defense has grown with experience.
“It was really a developing year for us. We all were learning with her, she was learning with us,” Turkot said. “Last year we were considered a young team. This year we’re still considered a young team, but with our one year of experience, I think it brings a lot of talent to the table. We have a lot more growth.”
Turkot has shown improvement on the field as she has already surpassed her season total of caused turnovers from last season.
Brand-Sias values Turkot’s learning style and experience from being with the team for three seasons.
“She’s a great reader back there and definitely adds to just that core that has all that experience,” Brand-Sias said. “She’s a very approachable player and really responds to everything she’s asked to do.”
Turkot remains most comfortable playing alongside her teammates. She said the defenders have reached their success this season because of their work as a single unit.
“It’s funny if you look at all of us, it’s not as if we’re the best individual defenders,” she said. “All of us bring out the best in each other. I don’t think that if you put us up one-on-one against the best attackers in the nation, we would hold up that well. The fact that we can play with each other and make our best attributes come out is what makes us the best.”