Rutgers looks to snap losing skid against No. 19 Penn
The ability to spark an attack late in games has been apparent in all but one showing for the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team, but problems remain when the team finds itself falling into large deficits in the early parts of games.
The Scarlet Knights (1-3) travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday to take on No. 19 Penn (1-1), where they will look to take their first lead in a game since their season opener against Villanova.
The Knights hold a 9-7 all-time record against the Quakers despite dropping last season's meeting, 17-7.
Rutgers heads into the matchup after suffering its third straight loss against Delaware on Saturday, where the Knights struggled with the Blue Hens aggressiveness on both sides of the ball.
Despite the loss, senior defender Addington Elliott still has no doubts about her team’s ability moving forward.
“I think this is going to be like a fire under our butt to just keep us going forward and just work really hard,” the Rumson, New Jersey, native said. “We know that we can do it, we just have to put it all together and execute on the field.”
Rutgers’ mentality continues to focus on the way its own game is played rather than dividing its attention and focusing on its opponent, head coach Laura Brand-Sias said.
“Everybody we play is very good and very talented. We have an extremely difficult schedule, so if all I did was focus on our opponent, we would never get better,” Brand-Sias said after her team's latest loss. “We need to grow and improve as a team quickly.”
The Knights have a quick turnaround in their schedule, playing their game against Penn only four days after Delaware. But Brand-Sias said it is something her team needs to be used to at this point of the season.
“It’s kind of the way things are at this part of the season for most teams,”the 14th-year head coach said. “It can be taxing physically and mentally and certainly preparation can be tough, but it’s what we have to do.”
Rutgers’ quick turnaround is something the team can find beneficial following a loss, said senior attacker Kim Kolodny, who scored two goals against Delaware.
The Knights will not have to worry about getting back into a game mindset like they do when their schedule sees longer stretches between matches.
“I think that we would much rather get over it, focus on the next team and motivate each other to play against the next team rather than sitting for a week and not playing,” she said.
Kolodny is one of the four returning players for Rutgers who scored in last season’s meeting with the Quakers, netting three of her own.
Senior attacker Halley Barnes, junior attacker Amanda Turturro and sophomore attacker Joanna Reilly each scored one goal in the game as well.
Penn has even less time to prepare for the Knights, coming off of their first loss of the season against No. 14 Duke on Sunday.
The Quakers' roster sports a lot of the depth in the attacking zone, even after losing their top-point scorer from a season ago.
Headlining their roster is senior attacker Nina Corcoran, who earned her second career Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honor after her 6-point effort against Delaware in Penn’s season opener. Corcoran leads the Quakers with 7 points this season after finishing second on the team in 2015.
Penn’s biggest performer against Rutgers a year ago was senior attacker Iris Williamson, leading the charge against the Knights by scoring five goals. Williamson has five goals in the Quakers two games this season after totaling four against Duke.
Rutgers continue to experience growing pains during its second year in the Big Ten, as the team looks to get its season back on track against Penn.
After facing a tough stretch in the early goings of the season, the Knights are still in the process of developing as a team.
“This early in the season, you gotta find a way to learn and grow from it,” Brand-Sias said. “We got a whole lot of lacrosse ahead of us, so we need to find some answers and we need to be prepared to make the most out of what we have left in the season.”
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