March 19, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers set to host James Madison on Saturday

The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team will have a challenging game this weekend, when it hosts James Madison this Saturday at 1 p.m. The Dukes are coming into this game ranked No. 3 in the country.

The Scarlet Knights (4-2) should feel optimistic heading into the game, since they beat James Madison (5-0) 12-9 last season. Defense was key in last year's meeting, and it should be the deciding factor this year, as well.

Luckily for Rutgers, its defense has been playing well this season and is currently tied for the 25th lowest points allowed per game in the country. Junior goalkeeper Devon Kearns has allowed 45 goals so far this season.

Also, the Knights will have to keep their defensive performance consistent, since the Dukes come into Piscataway with the fifth highest total offense in the country. Rutgers will have to key on senior midfielder Elena Romesburg, who leads James Madison with 22 goals already scored this season.

Reeling after their strong second-half performance against Drexel, the Knights will hope to pepper the net again. Rutgers outshot the Dragons 21-13 in the second half. 

The Knights dominate most teams with total shots, having outshot other teams 198-149 on the season.

Rutgers is undefeated at home so far this season, winning its two contests at High Point Solutions Stadium in dominating fashion. The team has beaten Drexel and Delaware by a combined score of 29-17, proving that the program is improving as time moves along. But, the Knights haven’t had above a .500 home record since 2014, when they went 6-4. 

Sophomore midfielder Samantha Budd comes into this weeekend's matchup leading Rutgers with her team high 17 goals. 

Budd is coming off of another big game with 4 goals and three draw controls against the Dragons. She currently leads the team in draw controls, which will be key in beating a very skilled Dukes team.

Junior attacker Abbey Brooks is coming off a career high 4-goal game against Drexel as well. Brooks is second on the team in points scored with 18 and leads the squad with eight assists. 

Her unselfish play has led the way for the Knights' solid start to the season. 

This matchup will be Rutgers' chance for redemption this season, since the only other ranked opponent it has played is No. 15 Penn. The game didn’t go in the Knights' favor, losing 19-9. 

But, it was a tough road game in the beginning of the season. Rutgers now has a comfortable win against the Dragons under its belt, so expect the game this Saturday to be a wild one. 

For updates on the Rutgers women's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Scott Brennan

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