Rutgers' season ended at the hands of Johns Hopkins
In its regular season finale, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team traveled down to Baltimore, Maryland to take on a conference rival, fighting for a chance to appear in the 2017 Big Ten Tournament.
The Scarlet Knights (8-8, 2-4) faced off against Johns Hopkins (11-5, 3-3) on the road, losing their most important game of the year, 17-9. Coming into the game, Rutgers and the Jays were tied for the last spot in the Big Ten Tournament, with the winner moving on to become the No. 4 seed.
“We just gave them too many runs,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “They are an exceptional team and super talented, with the ability to score in bunches and they definitely displayed that tonight.”
The Blue Jays put in the first goal of the night’s contest and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead over the Knights with 20:52 remaining in the first half. Johns Hopkins added another quick two goals in less than two minutes, opening things up to a 5-0 lead.
Senior midfielder Kristina Dunphey stopped the bleeding for the Knights, putting in a free position goal and cutting into the lead, but the Jays put another goal in and maintained their five-goal lead.
“We are obviously disappointed in the outcome,” Dunphey said. “But I think we gave it our all, in the second half especially and it’s good to see progress.”
With her goal, Dunphey crossed into the 40-point mark on the season, leading the team in both points and goals.
Hopkins took a 7-1 lead with 13:18 left in the half, leading the Knights to swap junior goalkeeper Bianca Dente with sophomore goalkeeper Devon Kearns. The early goalie swap was meant to send a message to the Knights defenders to lock things up, but the Jays scored again.
Trying to catch up in the game, the Knights scored two straight goals and made it an 8-3 game with 6:35 left in the half. The second free position goal from Dunphey and a Dunphey assisted goal by junior attacker Joanna Reilly brought some momentum for Rutgers late in the half.
The Knights put in their third straight goal and made things intereting when senior team captain midfielder Macy Scott scored. Rutgers used this momentum to go into halftime on a three-goal run, but were down 8-4.
“We needed to step up and make a play, but we just didn’t have it tonight,” Brand-Sias said.
The Knights were down by 4 goals at halftime even though they lead the Blue Jays in shots 18-16 and ground balls 5-3.
Johns Hopkins came out swinging immediately, scoring goals just 11, 24 and 38 seconds out of the locker room, reopening things up at 11-4 and forcing a Rutgers timeout. The timeout didn’t seem to help the Knights much, as the Jays scored another three goals with 23:03 left to play, taking a 10-goal lead.
Kearns gave up a seventh straight goal out of halftime, leading to Brand-Sias to sub Dente back in to try and stop the onslaught of goals. Although Dente returned, Hopkins scored its eighth straight goal.
Rutgers finally cut the streak off and scored its first goal of the second half when junior midfielder Paige Paratore scored off the right-hand side. Paratore scored a second straight goal, bringing the deficit back to 10 with 11:47 to play.
The Knights scored their third, fourth and fifth straight goal, making it a single digit deficit, 16-9 game, with Rutgers showing some life late into the game. Sophomore attacker Dana Gisonno and freshman midfielder Samantha Budd put in the first two goals on their own, followed by a goal from sophomore attacker Abbey Brooks off an assist from Dunphey.
Johns Hopkins ended Rutgers' five goal streak by putting in one of its own with 2:07 left, with Rutgers big play at the end seeming to have begun just a little too late.
The Blue Jays won 17-9, claiming the final spot in the 2017 Big Ten Tournament. The Knights end the season 8-8 overall, an improvement over last year's 6-12 record.
“This is the best year we’ve had in about four years now,” Dunphey said. “Building this program up to what it is now is really incredible, it goes by fast.”
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