Knights close out season with weekend road trip
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team is on the road for the first time this month, travelling to Louisville today to begin the final weekend of regular season action.
The Scarlet Knights (9-6, 1-5) will then travel to Cincinnati (6-8, 0-6) on Sunday for its final contest.
Rutgers hopes to salvage its remaining two conference games, as it has earned only one win so far in Big East play — a 9-6 victory April 13 against Villanova.
The game against the Wildcats also stands as the Knights’ only April win. They dropped every other contest during their five-game homestand.
The Cardinals (9-6, 1-5) have struggled in Big East play and have an identical record to the Knights. But most of their losses have come on the road, as they stand 6-1 at home.
Louisville has won only two of its last seven games, most recently an 18-10 victory Sunday against the Bearcats. The Cardinals also breezed past Marquette on April 7, 21-2.
They have reached double-digits in scoring in 12 games this season, scoring 20 or more goals three times.
The Cardinals’ conference record can be deceiving without considering their performance against some of the Big East’s best teams.
They took No. 6 Notre Dame into double overtime April 5 before falling, 16-15. They also needed extra time against Connecticut on April 14, but lost, 12-11.
Louisville’s success can be attributed, in part, to its ability to gain extra possessions for its offense. It ranks ninth in the country in draw controls and sits among the top 15 in caused turnovers.
Midfielder Nikki Boltja leads the team offensively. She enters following a six-goal performance against the Bearcats, increasing her season total to 54 goals. She is third in the nation in goals per game, averaging 3.6 per contest.
The Knights look to break through on offense this weekend after their inability to convert on its scoring opportunities plagued them during the homestand.
In their most recent game — a 10-4 loss last Sunday against Loyola — the Knights matched the Greyhounds in shots, but only found the back of the cage sixteen-percent of the time.
The Bearcats have also struggled to score goals this season, averaging less than 10 goals per game. Sunday’s contest will display a more offensively even matchup as Rutgers has not reached double-digits in seven consecutive games.
Freshman attack Halley Barnes is a player to watch this weekend for the Knights.
Barnes scored three goals last weekend despite the team’s low offensive output. She notched a team-leading two goals against Loyola and found the back of the cage last Friday against No. 8 Georgetown. She leads all freshmen on the team in points with 18 goals to go along with her two assists.