Rutgers takes overtime win on the road vs. Drexel
If one combined the intensity of last week’s game and the game this past weekend, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team has been involved in some of the most thrilling matches of the year so far.
After going down to the wire with Penn, which saw the Scarlet Knights (3-3) bring a 5-goal deficit to one with over six minutes remaining to play, the Knights defeated the Drexel Dragons (3-2) on the road in overtime, winning 9-8 on a sudden-death goal.
Although Rutgers ultimately lost its game to the No. 10 Quakers, it took that second half momentum and used it as fuel to grind out a win against the Dragons in Philadelphia this past Saturday.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “It wasn’t something where the ball was bouncing in our favor as much as we would like, but we did continue to fight and it is a huge thing to walk away with a W, especially in overtime.”
Drexel got on the board first, scoring less than two minutes into the game, but the Knights responded, scoring back-to-back unassisted goals thanks to freshman midfielder Samantha Budd and junior midfielder Paige Paratore.
The Dragons quickly tied up the game, scoring again in less than two minutes, bringing the score to 2-2, with 19:29 remaining in the first half.
Rutgers would go on a tear, scoring three straight goals and taking the first multiple-goal lead of the game.
“After the UPenn game, we were all fired up,” said junior goal keeper Bianca Dente. “There’s always room to improve, but we were just really excited to come out and get the win”
First, junior attacker Kerri Puckhaber scored off an assist from Paratore, regaining the lead and redshirt junior attacker Nicole Kopyta then adding to it with another goal to make it 4-2 with 12:22 left in the first.
Senior team captain attacker Amanda Turturro connected on a pass from fellow senior team captain midfielder Macy Scott, which set up the largest lead of the game for the Knights at 5-2.
Drexel scored less than a minute later, cutting the Scarlet lead to 5-3 and keeping it that way until the first half horn sounded.
Rutgers came out of the locker room and started the first half strong, with Kopyta scoring her team-leading 13th goal of the season, putting the Knights back up by 3 goals. This was Kopyta’s sixth straight game with multiple goals, which she has now done in every game so far in the 2017 season.
The Dragons responded with a tear of their own, scoring 3 straight goals in a 10-minute span, tying the game up at 6 goals a-piece.
Rutgers regained a multiple-goal lead off back to back goals from Scott and Paratore, making it 8-6 with 7:38 left in the game.
Drexel brought things a bit closer on an assisted goal with just 2:21 left to play and the Rutgers lead at just one.
In a crazy sequence of events, which included two fouls for the Knights and ultimately a turnover, the Dragons scored with just 27 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime, tied 8-8.
With her fifth assist of the season, Turturro slung over a beautiful pass, which was then put in the goal by Puckhaber for the win.
Junior midfielder Alana Navaroli had herself quite a day, winning a career-high nine draw controls, ultimately bringing up her team-leading total to 15 for the season. Navaroli was just one draw control shy of tying a school record for draw controls set back in April of 2010.
“We work on draws everyday,” Navaroli said. “So coach really helps us to get better with them. For Drexel, we had a game plan for it and we followed that game plan perfectly and came up with the win.”
This was the first regular season meeting between Rutgers and Drexel since 1993, when Rutgers won.
Without a mid-week game on the schedule, the Knights look to build off their last two performances as they get set to travel once more to Harrisonburg, Virginia to face No. 19 James Madison University next Saturday.
“JMU we have to come in full energy, full effort and coach will give us the game plan and we just have to follow it,” Navaroli said.
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