Playoff fate rests with road games
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team enters the final weekend of its regular season in an entirely different situation than where it was a month ago.
The Scarlet Knights are on the road for their remaining two games, hoping to find a spot in the Big East Tournament.
After finishing their homestand with a 1-4 record, the Knights just hope their spot in the conference championships is not in doubt.
Before April, Rutgers held an 8-3 record and managed to break into the DeBeer Media Poll — on one occasion ranked 18th in the country.
It did not necessarily underachieve during the homestand, as three of the Knights’ four losses came from ranked opponents.
But the ways they lost left something to be desired.
The defense continued its pace, maintaining a top-five national ranking in goals allowed throughout.
It even looked like Rutgers would upset then-No. 5 Syracuse on April 7 before it surrendered a second-half lead.
Offensively, the Knights often match their opponents in shots, but still come up short when they do so. Their inability to convert on scoring chances resulted in two of their worst losses of the season last weekend.
Loyola defeated Rutgers, 10-4, Sunday, despite both teams coming up with more than 20 shots apiece.
Against Georgetown on Friday, the Knights fell into an eight-goal deficit at halftime because they could not reach the offensive zone in the early portion of the game.
They have gone all of April without scoring double-digits in a game. And with a pair of games against unranked opponents left on the schedule, Rutgers has to find a way to offensively break through.
“I think it just came down to our shooting,” said senior attack Annie McGinley following Sunday’s loss. “It’s something we need to be practicing more on our own, individually, and every game we learn something new and we’re learning that shooting is something we really have to work on.”
Rutgers’ inability to convert spoiled its Senior Day on Sunday, when the only goal-scorers were two freshmen along with junior midfielder Katrina Martinelli, Rutgers’ leading scorer.
In the first game of the homestand April 5 against Connecticut, the Knights converted on only seven shots despite taking 29 in the game. They lost by a single goal, 8-7.