Knights host pair of ranked foes in home action
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team this weekend wraps up its regular season home schedule.
No. 8 Georgetown (9-3, 3-1) visits the RU Turf Field on Friday before the Scarlet Knights (9-4, 1-3) host No. 13 Loyola (Md.) Sunday on Senior Day.
“We’re going to have to put together a complete game [against Georgetown] and make sure that we’re consistently playing with composure throughout the whole game,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “So when it comes down to the end of the game and the end of the line, we’re not scaring ourselves into a situation where we have to maintain control.”
Rutgers enters with some momentum after earning its first Big East victory Saturday against Villanova.
Six different players tallied a point in the game, while the Knights’ second-ranked scoring defense allowed six goals on 19 shots. Brand-Sias this weekend expects to see more of the same.
“I think we can have very well-rounded scoring against the type of defense Georgetown plays,” she said. “Everyone just needs to be ready to want the ball on their stick.”
The Hoyas failed to complete a comeback Sunday against No. 6 Notre Dame.
Down four goals with less than three minutes remaining, they scored three times in the final minute of regulation but fell short, 13-12.
The loss marked the Hoyas’ first defeat in conference play and third overall this season. They previously strung together four consecutive wins, including a 14-11 victory at Loyola on April 6. It stands as the Greyhounds’ only Big East loss of the season.
Loyola’s (7-6, 3-1) tough schedule has made it difficult to stay above .500. With its first five games played against top-25 teams, the Greyhounds started with a 2-3 record. But more recent wins against teams such as the Irish last Friday and Louisville have helped them maintain their spot in the top 15 of the national rankings.
Rutgers has been able to compete with every ranked team it has faced thus far. An early non-conference win against then-No. 20 Penn came in the middle of a six-game winning streak that began in late February.
Big East play has been less kind to the Knights. They surrendered a second-period lead and fell to No. 5 Syracuse on April 7 as it could not garner enough offense to complete the upset bid March 22 against the Irish.
The Knights scored at least six goals in both games, despite putting nearly 20 shots on goal in each.
“The things that we’re doing are successful in terms of getting good looks at the cage,” Brand-Sias said. “We’re not concerned about the amount of opportunities that we get, because we get plenty. It’s about us finishing.”
The Hoyas and Greyhounds act as the final two opportunities for Rutgers to defeat another ranked opponent during the regular season.
A player to watch for the Knights this weekend is junior midfielder Katrina Martinelli.
Martinelli was named to the Big East Honor Roll on Monday for her performance against the Wildcats. She scored twice and recorded an assist in her 10th multi-goal game of the season.
For Georgetown, midfielder Sophia Thomas paced the team with three goals in each of its last two games. She was named to the Big East Honor Roll on April 8 after Georgetown’s 13-7 victory against Marquette and is the fifth Hoya to receive a Big East honor this season.
Midfielder Marlee Paton leads the Greyhounds are led offensively with the 37 points. Attack Hannah Schmidt follows her with 29 points.
Schmidt scored the game-winning goal against the Irish, which came in double overtime. The goal resulted in Notre Dame’s first loss of the season as she was named National Player of the Week by WomensLax.com.