Tiebreaker gives last hope for postseason
The entire season comes down to one game for the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team.
Following a 1-1 road trip against Big East rivals Cincinnati and Louisville, the Scarlet Knights (8-8, 2-4) must come out with a victory in their final game Friday if they wish to have a chance at making the Big East Tournament.
With the top-four teams qualifying, the Knights are currently on the outside of the playoff picture. A number of possibilities would have to play out in order for Rutgers to make the postseason.
First, Rutgers needs to defeat its final opponent, Temple (6-9, 3-3), in Piscataway.
Second, the Knights need Villanova (8-7, 3-3) to lose on Saturday to Connecticut.
Those two results would force the Knights into a three-way tie with the Owls and Villanova. The deciding factor would be goal differential.
Despite all of the possibilities, the Knights are only concentrating on what they can control, which is getting a win Friday against the Owls.
After an impressive performance Thursday against Cincinnati with a season-high 15 goals, Rutgers dropped its following game to a talented Louisville team.
Prior to the Cincinnati game, the Knights were focused on coming away from both games with a win. Getting a victory in both games would have greatly improved the Knights’ postseason chances.
The Knights have returned from their final road trip of the season with a renewed sense of concentration for their regular season finale.
“Our focus is probably going to be the highest all season against Temple,” said senior attacker Megan Clements. “Everyone was obviously upset about losing to Louisville and to know that our season might be over after Friday, but it’s also driving us to get that win and take advantage of the chance we have at making the postseason.”
Clements, who scored seven goals on the two-game road trip and is second on the team with 28 points, will need to have another strong performance against the Owls.
This game could bring more intensity than the Knights’ previous contests. For the seniors, Friday’s game against Temple will be their final chance at making the postseason in their Rutgers career.
“For me it’s important because it’s my senior year and last chance to make the playoffs,” said senior defender Chelsea Intrabartola. “As a team it’s our last year in the Big East, so it would be nice to go out being in the tournament playing for a chance at the Big East Championship.”
The Knights’ primary season goal is on the line, and the team is well aware of the circumstances surrounding Friday’s contest. A win keeps their playoff hopes alive, while a loss will end any chances.
Rutgers’ past three games against Temple have been close, with each of them being decided by one goal.
Rutgers knows its last regular season game could be the most tightly contested all season.
“We’re doing everything we can this week to put our best effort forward on Friday,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “Postseason is on the line for both teams on Friday, and it’s going to go to the team that really wants it more and puts together the best game.”
For more updates on the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.
Yesterday’s article, titled “Split road trip ends Knights’ Big East tourney chances,” should not have implied that the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team was eliminated from the Big East Conference Tournament. This article clarifies the playoff scenarios.