Rutgers aims to contain Princeton attack in first road test
After starting the season 2-0, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team will bring its undefeated record to Princeton tonight.
The Scarlet Knights will face their first road game of the year in the matchup against the Tigers (0-1), which will give Rutgers some new challenges early in the season.
The Tigers — who averaged 11.76 goals per game last year — have an explosive offense which attacker Erin McMunn and midfielder Erin Slifer lead.
McMunn led the team in offense with 69 points in 2013 and was named Ivy League Attacker of the Year. Slifer was second on the team with 39 points. Both tallied a goal in Princeton’s opening loss Feb. 22 at Loyola.
The matchup between the Knights’ veteran-led defense and the Tigers’ high-powered attack could be intriguing.
Head coach Laura Brand-Sias and the coaching staff have game-planned for the new challenges Princeton will pose to the Knights.
“We have some different ways we’re going to defend them and we’re ready to change it up as we go,” Brand-Sias said.
The Knights’ situation in goal is also subject to change. Both redshirt freshman Amanda Currell and junior Candice Dandridge have been impressive thus far in the season with split time, but each will be tested against Princeton.
Brand-Sias has no intention of altering the current plan.
“Right now we’re in a good spot with them and they both have an equal opportunity moving forward,” Brand-Sias said.
On the offensive side of the ball, more production will be needed from the Knights to keep up with the Tigers’ attack. The team has scored just six goals in each of its first two games.
But the five goals scored in the second half of Rutgers’ contest against Fairfield last Saturday may be an indicator of better things to come for the Knights.
“We can’t play as individuals and really need to get the ball moving,” said senior attacker Katrina Martinelli.
Martinelli spoke of the team’s offensive struggles so far and has pushed her teammates to increase the tempo of the game.
“A lot of the time we’ve been too hesitant and we need to get ball in the net after the defense has been playing so well,” Martinelli said.
Carrying the momentum from the Knights’ tight win against Fairfield will be key for Rutgers in this game.
The Knights recognize they need to be better in all aspects in order to keep their undefeated record alive.
“Hopefully we’ll do a better job on the offensive side building our chemistry from Saturday, and we’ll just have to see how it goes,” Brand-Sias said.
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