Women's Lacrosse: Attack provides scoring in injury-laden offense
After scoring two goals in the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team’s game Friday against Connecticut, freshman attack Halley Barnes became noticeably more confident in her play.
The Garnet Valley, Pa., native was put into action immediately, starting in each of the first 11 games of her college career for the Scarlet Knights.
Head coach Laura Brand-Sias said she saw a less hesitant player in Barnes on Sunday against Syracuse, where she scored on a free-position attempt.
“She played on a completely different level [against the Orange],” Brand-Sias said. “She was playing like an upperclassman yesterday, and my hope is that she’ll continue to play with that confidence for the rest of the season.”
Earning a starting spot on the team was one of Barnes’ goals entering the season.
With injuries to key offensive players, Barnes and several other younger players have been called on to contribute.
She credits her coaches and the upperclassmen for helping her get past the initial shock of the new level of play.
“Some things were just a complete 180 from the high school game, but Coach Brand and all the other coaches, along with a lot of our seniors and our captains — were always right there the whole way,” she said.
Barnes prides herself on being ready to contribute in any way she can.
“Whether in one game that’s scoring goals or another game my team needs me to get draws or groundballs, I’ll go on any different role that I can to help my team to come out on top,” she said. “I know everyone on the team feels the same way.”
She currently ranks first in points among freshmen on the team and is fifth overall with 13 goals to go along with two assists.
While Barnes’ goals have come at a constant rate, she understands the role she must take if her shots are not finding the back of the cage.
“I pride myself on being hardworking,” Barnes said. “I want to get the groundballs or do the little extra things that are going to help us come out on top, even if I’m not able to produce the goals that I should be producing.”
Much like the rest of the team, Barnes is on board with Brand-Sias’ team-oriented mentality. She said it is the primary reason for the Knights to compete alongside highly ranked teams.
“The concept stems from Coach Brand’s idea of the team playing together as a family, and Rutgers playing together as a family,” Barnes said. “I don’t think that we could beat teams that we’ve beaten and play with teams like Syracuse if we didn’t 100 percent play together all the time.”
In four years at Garnet Valley (Pa.) High School, Barnes achieved elite numbers and was recognized on a national level.
Brand-Sias said she saw continuous progress from Barnes throughout her high school career — one of the factors in wanting to recruit her.
“I just saw her as being somebody who was constantly going hard. She was a huge factor in her team’s success,” Brand-Sias said about recruiting Barnes. “She just got progressively better and better every year and she got better quickly, so she was somebody I was really excited about.”
She scored 142 points in her senior season, putting her among the top-20 players in the nation, and earned various accolades.
Her team won its first ever PIAA State Championship and Barnes was named Phillylacrosse.com’s co-player of the year. She was also ESPN’s fifth-ranked attacker in the country.