Rutgers uses strong 2nd half to propel itself over Lafayette
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team pushed through a tough first half in its third game of the season Tuesday, defeating Lafayette, 15-10, behind a strong effort in the second half.
The Scarlet Knights (2-1) traveled to Easton, Pennsylvania to take on the Leopards (2-1) for the team’s first road game of the season.
Lafayette started off the game with a good start, getting on the board first with a goal.
Rutgers responded quickly, scoring two goals within seconds of each other. First came a goal at the 25:13 mark from sophomore attacker Abbey Brooks. Less than a minute later, senior attacker Amanda Turturro went off the top shelf, giving the Knights a 2-1 lead with 24:30 left in the first half.
The Leopards had a quick response of their own, scoring back to back goals to take a 3-2 lead with 19:36 remaining in the first half.
It seemed as if a small pattern was occurring between the two teams, as Rutgers again scored two straight goals. Freshman midfielder Samantha Budd scored at the 16:36 mark to put the Knights up, 4-3.
After three minutes of no scoring, Lafayette tied up the score, 4-4, with 13:18 to go in the first half. The Leopards continued the game's pattern, scoring again on a free position goal with 10:48 in the first to take a 5-4 lead.
Of course, Rutgers responded with two more goals. Junior defender Amanda Casten ran the length of the field, flying by Lafayette defenders and scoring to tie the game up at five apiece.
The Knights retook the lead with a goal from junior Nicole Kopyta, making it 6-5 off an assist from senior team captain Macy Scott, with 7:54 remaining on the first half clock.
Rutgers not only broke the two-goal pattern, but also took the first mutli-goal lead of the game. Junior midfielder Paige Paratore extended Rutgers’ lead 7-5 after scoring with six minutes to go in the half.
Less than 30 seconds passed before the Leopards cut into Rutgers' lead, keeping the game tight at 7-6. The game was tied up again at seven for each team after Lafayette scored another free position goal with 3:06 to play in the first half.
Rutgers opened the second half with another goal from Kopyta, off the pass from Brooks, to break the halftime tie with Lafayette at the 27:39 mark.
Three minutes later, the Leopards tied things up with an open field drive goal to lock the game at eight apiece.
The clock continued to chew away, until the Knights scored again. Budd scored her second free position goal of the game. Rutgers regained the lead, 9-8.
The game was all tied up once again with 9-9. Lafayette returned the favor with another goal with less than 20 minutes remaining in the game.
Turturro and junior attacker Joanna Reilly scored back-to-back goals for the Knights, taking another multi-goal lead, 11-9, with 17:18 left in the game. Turturro’s goal gave her a hat trick up to that point.
Lafayette responded with a quick goal seconds later, but Rutgers answered right back with a goal from senior midfielder Kristina Dunphey — her first of the night. Dunphey came into the game leading the Knights thus far in the season with four.
Rutgers took its biggest lead of the night with 12:29 to go in the game with another goal from Turturro, making it 13-10.
Junior attacker Kerri Puckhaber and Brooks tore the game open for the Knights, capping four straight goals for Rutgers with two more goals and a 15-10 score with 10 minutes remaining.
As time crunched down, Lafayette struggled to score again against Rutgers’ stifling defense. The Knights scored six of the last seven goals in the game.
Junior goalkeeper Bianca Dente ended the match with 12 saves. Overall, Rutgers had 22 shots on goal compared to its final 15 goals scored. Three sets of two goals apiece were from Brooks, Budd and Kopyta.
Rutgers are set to take on the University of Delaware this upcoming Saturday at 3 p.m. in Newark, Delaware.
For updates on the Rutgers women's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.