June 18, 2019 | 75° F

Brooks's 4 goals help Rutgers defeat Niagara, 14-8

Photo by Garrett Steffe |

The Rutgers women's lacrosse team hosted Niagara at High Point Solutions Stadium amid periods of heavy rain on Tuesday night.

The Scarlet Knights (5-6, 0-2) struck first, scoring the first goal of the game in the opening 30 seconds. After the Purple Eagles (4-6, 1-0) retaliated, the Knights scored 5 straight goals heading into halftime.

The defense being played in the first half was great by Rutgers, holding Niagara to just 1 goal in the first 23 minutes. The Knights held a 6-1 lead for the majority of the half, but the Purple Eagles battled back before halftime to head into the locker room with a 6-3 score on the board.

Niagara then went on a 6-1 run of its own to tie the game, which stretched from the closing minutes of the first period to the first 12 minutes of the second period.

Rutgers had no answer for either Rachel MacCheyne or Caroline Crump, who scored a combined 5 goals in the aforementioned run alone.

On the offensive end, the Knights were scoring among themselves pretty evenly, with six people scoring a goal in the first period. 

Junior attacker Abbey Brooks ended the game with a team-high 4 goals. The team's leading goal scorer, sophomore midfielder Samantha Budd, had 2 goals to move her season total up to 22.

Rutgers snapped out of its funk when it made a goalie change with 18:56 left in the second period. Senior Bianca Dente entered and allowed 1 goal and had seven saves. 

The energy shifted and the Knights ended the game on a 7-1 run, ending their four-game losing streak. 

Head coach Laura Brand Sias saw several things Rutgers can improve upon in its next game to keep the win streak going.

“I think our shooting percentage is pretty low, some of our shot selection is just throwing the ball behind the cage,” Sias said. “Some discipline pieces, you know, some false starts, rules that you should know by now, should be second nature this late in the season.”

Brooks scored 4 goals, but her goals were extra valuable because of when they were scored.

Her first goal was the first of the game, which allowed the Knights to play their style throughout the first half. The second and third stopped the Purple Eagles run, and put Rutgers back into the lead at 9-7, while her last goal essentially sealed the win for the Knights. 

“Definitely the defense,” Brooks said on who deserved the most credit for her goals. “I think that they get clouded in the wind, especially when you have a lot of goal scorers, and the defense is why we won the game tonight. You know they held down their side of the field.”

Senior defender Amanda Casten scored her first goal of the season in the win. She has been a four-year starter for the Rutgers defense, and had only scored 1 goal prior to this season.

Casten also added a career-high seven caused-turnovers, which tied the school record for caused-turnovers in a game. 

“As a defender, it's something that doesn’t happen to many of us so it's really great when a defender scores her first goal,” Casten said. "It’s incredible, it’s a great honor,” she also said about her turnover record. “I didn’t even realize I had seven caused-turnovers tonight. I just go out and try to get my team the win.”

The Knights went into the half giving up 2 quick goals, and then gave up 4 more to start the second half. The team rallied behind its coach's words, and will look to keep playing the Rutgers way heading into its next tough stretch of games.

“We just wanted to make sure that we're getting back to the basics of Rutgers lacrosse. We’re a team that’s going to be gritty, and we’re going to fight til the end,” Sias said. 

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

Scott Brennan

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