Rutgers seeks first Big Ten win over Buckeyes
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team is running out of time to make a better second impression in the Big Ten conference.
With only two game left in the season, the Scarlet Knights (3-11, 0-3) return home on Thursday night to take No. 15 Ohio State (11-2, 2-1), hoping to end a four-game losing streak.
Unlike the rest of the Knights’ games this season, their matchup with the Buckeyes will be featured live in front of a national audience on the Big Ten Network. While it is not the traditional media coverage Rutgers received this season, senior attacker Kim Kolodny has not put too much thought into it.
“I think a lot of us on the team try to not think about that just because that is another thing to add onto our game of being nervous,” the Farmingdale, New York, native said. “I definitely won’t be thinking about it because it would probably psych me out, so I’m just going to focus on the game and what I can do individually to get the win.”
Kolodny scored her 100th career point this weekend after recording 6 points in the Knights’ 20-9 loss to Northwestern on Sunday. The senior attacker sits second on the team with 26 goals and 37 points.
Trailing right behind Kolodny this season is fellow senior attacker Halley Barnes, who is only 3 points away from her 100 career point. Earlier in the week, Rutgers' captain said she wants to continue to do her job and score goals as an attacker, while downplaying the thought of achieving the milestone.
Barnes has another chance to reach the milestone against the Buckeyes, a game in which she holds a different outlook in playing on live television.
“I hope that we bring to every game as much energy as we possibly can, so I’m hoping being on TV won’t affect us in a negative way,” Barnes said. “I’m hoping we just go into to it and play our game and come out with a victory. It’s an opportunity to show the world how good we are.”
In a small sample size of games, Ohio State holds the advantage over the Knights’, winning 3 of 4 meetings in the series history.
Rutgers suffered two of those losses last season, when the Buckeyes beat them with identical 17-7 scores, once in the regular season and another in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Ohio State’s nine-game winning streak was brought to an end in a 15-5 loss to No.1 Maryland last Saturday.
The Buckeyes’ offense boasts a respectable 12.23 goals per game while converting on nearly half of their free-position attempts this season. Having five different players with 10 or more goals this year, Ohio State has plenty of options to run its attack through.
Most notable of the pack are senior midfielder Cian Dabrowski and senior attacker Rainey Hodgson. Dabrowski leads the Big Ten with over 4 points per game and ranks second in goals per game with a near 3.5 average.
Hodgson has played a balanced role in the Ohio State offense, scoring 25 goals while recording 25 assists. As the second leading point scorer on the Buckeyes’ roster, her enormous amount of helpers this season leads the entire conference.
In the Knights’ two meetings with Ohio State last season Hodgson and Dabrowski combined for 8 goals and 11 points.
While Rutgers has improved on its overall record from a season ago, the game on Thursday will be the last opportunity for the Knights this season to finish better than their one Big Ten win a year ago.
Following the recent loss, for Rutgers’ head coach Laura Brand-Sias, the mentality of taking it one game at a time remains as the team’s standard moving forward.
“We’ve gotta learn from this game and move on and go into another single game season on Thursday,” Brand-Sias said. “Just do everything we can in the next few days to get better, to give ourselves an opportunity to go 1-0.”
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