Rutgers looks to avoid losing streak in matchup with Hofstra
After finishing a two-game home stand with a loss against James Madison on Saturday, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team remained proud of its play, despite a lagging record.
Senior attacker Halley Barnes continues to say her team’s record does not identify the way the season has gone.
“I hate our record and I hate losing more than anything in the world, but I can’t say that I’m disappointed in the team we are this year,” Barnes said. “This year, we have taken so many steps in the right direction that I’m not disappointed in the team we are at all.”
The Scarlet Knights (2-7) will have their chance to take a step forward when they face off against a familiar opponent in Hofstra (1-5) on Friday in New York.
Following the loss to James Madison, head coach Laura Brand-Sias stressed the importance of winning individual battles as her team gets ready to take on the Pride.
“Some of the things that people take for granted are really important,” Brand-Sias said. “50-50 balls, draw controls, shooting percentage, save percentage, those are the kind of things that are going to make a difference in a tight game.”
The Knights have seen Hofstra more than any other opponent in program history. Rutgers has won 22 of the 32 games against the Pride.
Last year, the Knights suffered a 9-5 loss to Hofstra, in a game where it was too late by the time Rutgers’ offense finally started to produce.
The Knights have only one returning scorer from last year’s game in sophomore attacker Kerri Puckhaber, who finished the contest with a goal and an assist.
Rutgers will continue to look towards its leading scorers to produce offense, as they have all season.
Junior midfielder Kristina Dunphey leads the Knights in goals (22) and points (29) after tallying 4 points against James Madison. According to the Hillsborough, New Jersey, playing a fearless style while drawing a lot of contact from her opponents is a key component to her game.
“I’m definitely not afraid to get hit, so I just like use my speed as my kind of go-to,” Dunphey said of her game. “I was always a gritty player.”
Barnes and fellow senior attacker Kim Kolodny sit right behind Dunphey as Rutgers’ top contributors. The duo has a combined 34 goals and 45 points this season as they both continue their pace towards 100 career points.
Hofstra recently earned their first win of the season, beating Quinnipiac, 13-5, after starting off the year on a five-game losing streak.
The Pride took down the Knights last year riding the back of the recently graduated Brittain Altomare, who finished the game with 3 goals and 7 points.
While Rutgers will not have to deal with likes of Altomare this Friday, Hofstra’s posing threats this season include junior attacker Tiana Parrella and graduate senior attacker Lindsay Scott, who played her last four seasons at North Carolina.
Scott currently leads the charge for the Pride with 18 goals and 21 points on the year, after totaling 17 goals and 22 points in her four seasons with North Carolina.
Parrella, who scored in Hofstra’s win over the Knights, ranks second on the team with 18 points, after finishing the 2015 campaign with 23 goals and 34 points. Parrella comes into the game on Friday after scoring four times in the Pride’s win over Quinnipiac.
Despite only recording two wins on the season, Rutgers is already on track to improve its record from last year where the Knights finished 2-16. Hofstra is a great opportunity to get one more win before Rutgers heads into its Big Ten play.
According to Barnes, the Knights will continue the same philosophy they have stuck with all season and only devote their attention towards Friday’s game.
“We’re only focusing on our next opponent, and every game is just one more game left in our season,” Barnes said. “We are really just trying to take it one game at a time.”
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