Rutgers puts up fight, falls short to No. 10 Penn
Coming into Wednesday night’s matchup looking to jumpstart the team’s recent play, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team was up for a big challenge with No. 10 Penn.
The Scarlet Knights (2-3) and the Quakers (3-0) played at High Point Solutions Stadium in a highly intense battle that came down to the last minute of play, resulting in a tough 11-9 loss for Rutgers.
On the rainy evening in Piscataway, Penn was able to strike first blood and take a quick 2-0 lead.
After some back and forth, Rutgers got on the board at the 23:07 mark, after senior team captain attacker Amanda Turturro scored her ninth goal of the season.
The Knights assuaged their deficit in quick fashion, tying the score 2-2 on an unassisted goal from senior midfielder Kristina Dunphey, who sprinted up the right side of the field for the score.
The Quakers answered back and retook the lead at 4-2, off of back-to-back goals with 14:44 remaining on the first half clock.
But, that aggression paid off for the team, as senior midfielder Macy Scott scored off an assist from Dunphey and brought the Penn lead down to just one with 9:44 remaining in the half.
“You can never be happy about a loss, but I am really happy about how we came out, we came out today with a fire under (ourselves) and we were working together and clicking,” Scott said. “We improved in a lot of areas compared to our last game and set the standard for ourselves.”
Rutgers scored again three minutes later, tying the score up at 4-4 on a goal from redshirt junior attacker Nicole Kopyta off the assist from Turturro behind the net. The pressure was on the visitors, who were forced into taking their first timeout of the game.
Penn responded and retook the lead, 5-4, with just a little less than six minutes remaining in the half and the team looking to take its lead into half time.
Scott wasn’t looking to let that happen, scoring her second goal of the game off a free position, tying the game up at five apiece with just over a minute left in the first half.
Penn swung the momentum in its favor before the teams headed into the locker room at the half, scoring 2 straight goals and taking another multiple-goal lead, 7-5, which would remain the score as the horn sounded at the end of the first half.
“Penn is a top 10 team,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “When we sat back and relaxed a little bit at the end of the first half, we gave up 2 goals in that last minute and 11-9 is the final score.”
After a quiet start to the second half, the Quakers scored their fifth straight uncontested goal with 14:36 remaining in the game, holding a comfortable 10-5 lead over the Knights.
Rutgers finally stopped the bleeding with 14:00 on the clock, as Kopyta scored her second goal of the game off another Dunphey assist.
Dunphey kept her hot hand going, scoring another unassisted goal for the Knights and cutting the Penn lead to 10-7 with 12:24 left to play.
Rutgers seemed to breathe new life, scoring its third straight goal late in the second half, on junior attacker Joanna Reilly’s first goal of the game and Dunphey’s third assist of the game.
“My best thing to do is dodging, so I’ve got to utilize my other talents like assisting and looking for my teammates as the doubles come to me,” Dunphey said.
Scott scored her third goal of the game, off an assist from sophomore midfielder Paige Paratore and pushed the score to 10-9 with 6:58 left to play.
Penn cut at Rutgers’ momentum late, scoring with 1:53 left to play and increasing its lead to 11-9 and ultimately keeping it until the final horn sounded.
Overall, the Knights took 20 shots on the night and saw junior goalkeeper Bianca Dente save 10 shots.
Rutgers hopes to take its strong play against Penn into its next matchup this weekend, when it faces Drexel in Philadelphia on Saturday.
“We proved to ourselves that we can compete with any team and I think that if we just take care of the little things, we have a really bright future ahead of us,” Dunphey said.
For updates on the Rutgers women's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.