Women's Lacrosse: Sophomore excels for nation’s second-ranked ‘D’
Defender Hollie DiMuro manages to stand out on a team that ranks second in the nation in scoring defense.
The sophomore leads the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team in caused turnovers and groundballs and stands among the top 30 in the country in both categories.
But that does not stop DiMuro to stress how important her teammates are to her success.
“They allow me to go out and do what I do best, which is cause turnovers and get groundballs,” she said. “And I know if I don’t get it, they have my back.”
With a defensive corps that consists mainly of juniors, DiMuro fits right in. She is in her third year on the field after redshirting her freshman season.
In her first full season of action, DiMuro started each game and led the Scarlet Knights in groundballs with 30 to go along with 23 turnovers.
In Sunday’s game against Syracuse, she surpassed her groundball total from last season with four, in addition to three caused turnovers.
Her performance can be somewhat credited to a personal rivalry.
“I played at high school with one of the girls [on Syracuse],” DiMuro said. “She was playing offense, I was playing defense, and it was just going head to head. I think I came up really big with it.”
While the Knights lost that game, along with their two previous Big East matchups, the defense has maintained its solid play.
“As a defense, we’re keeping our goal up and I think we’re rising to the challenge,” DiMuro said.
After allowing 10 goals against the Orange, the defense has allowed opposition double-digit scoring only twice. The other occasion was a 12-10 victory on March 19 against Princeton.
Assistant coach Lisa Staedt Ojea noted the importance of DiMuro to this defense as an individual player.
“Her play can make us or break us, and she’s told that all the time,” Ojea said. “But the bottom line is, we know she can create a lot of opportunities for our team, we have to have her back.”
DiMuro averages more than one caused turnover per game, but Ojea said the Knights’ defense must be ready to back her up incase she misses.
With prior experience coaching at Louisville, James Madison and Virginia Tech, Ojea credits the pure talent of this team to its ability to be so stingy in allowing goals.
“They don’t do anything special, we’re not in a high-pressure defense,” she said. “We’re not in a defense that’s creating things you don’t see from other teams. What you are seeing is people going into double teams and everybody having each others’ back.”
She said the defense has learned from her and progressed since she arrived at Rutgers last season, but she noted the players’ talents go far beyond her coaching.
“This year they’ve taken all the tools I’ve given them, plus a great core of returners, and then they’ve made it their own,” she said. “They’ve used what I’ve given them, and then have taken off and done things that I can’t teach them that are just so much more instinctive.”