March 24, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers looks to bounce back against No. 15 Johns Hopkins

Photo by The Daily Tagum |

Senior midfielder Kristin Kocher believes there is more energy playing at High Point Solutions Stadium than anywhere else.

Senior Halley Barnes’s four goals on Wednesday were more frustrating for her than accomplishing. 

But there were positives from the Rutgers women's lacrosse team nearly being able to mount a comeback in its 12-10 loss against Monmouth.

“I think frustrating is definitely the word I would use to describe (it),” Barnes said. “I think we showed so many improvements from last year that I’m really hopeful going into Sunday against (Johns) Hopkins.”

The Scarlet Knights (1-1) were given an NCAA mandated day off following their first loss of the season.

“We talked about using that as day to really clear our heads and be ready to move forward when we get back out there on Friday,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “We just have to prepare to clean up on the things that we didn’t do well and be ready to put together a good solid game on Sunday.”

Happy to finally be able to play their first home game, the Knights look to collect their second win in the 2016 campaign on Sunday.

Rutgers faces off against No. 15 Johns Hopkins (1-0), marking the second matchup between the two teams in program history. The Blue Jays won the first game, 14-6, last year.

The game against the Blue Jays will be the Knights’ home opener at High Point Solutions Stadium and the players are really looking forward to playing on their own turf.

“I’m so excited to play at High Point Solutions Stadium,” Barnes said. “It just brings such an energy for our team, we have so many more fans there and it just really helps us.”

Being home comes as a huge advantage for Rutgers, especially going up against a dominant Johns Hopkins team.

“There’s more energy we bring,” said senior midfielder Kristin Kocher said. “Being at home in the stadium, the big football stadium and the sound system is just awesome.”

In the game last year against Johns Hopkins, the Knights were locked into a close battle before the Blue Jays went on a five-goal run in the second half to seal the win. The game’s final score of 14-6 was misleading to how evenly the game was played by both teams. 

The teams were matched in ground balls and draw controls, but Rutgers inability to convert on all eight of their free position shots was one of the game’s biggest factors.

In that game, the Knights had goals from three returning players, including two from Barnes, one from junior midfielder Macy Scott and one from sophomore attacker Kerri Puckhaber.

Johns Hopkins was ranked in the top-20 in three different polls entering the year, including the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association.

The Blue Jays are coming off their second consecutive home win where they defeated Marquette, 11-8, and American University, 16-10. Blue Jays senior midfielder Dene DiMartino scored a combined eight goals in those two games.

DiMartino led the Blue Jays in scoring and draws with 40 goals and 58 draws last season earning her Third Team All-America honors. Against Rutgers last season, DiMartino scored three goals while adding an assist in the Blue Jays’ win.

Sophomore attacker Emily Kenul also scored three goals against the Knights. In Kenul’s two games this season, she has five goals and two assists.

Rutgers has a tough task ahead of them after a short turnaround from their recent loss. The Knights look to head into its home opener with a boost in confidence from playing on their own turf.

“Being at High Point Solutions is going to be a huge advantage for us and I think the team is really looking forward to our first home game,” Barnes said.

For updates on the Rutgers women's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Thomas Crincoli

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