Rutgers comes away with 12-9 win over Lafayette
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team beat Lafayette 12-9 on Tuesday night behind 3 goals from sophomore midfielder Samantha Budd.
The Scarlet Knights (6-7, 0-2) started the game off on the wrong foot, letting the Leopards (4-7, 1-2) strike first. But Rutgers struck back, scoring 3 unanswered goals to get a lead that it would not relinquish all game.
The game was played in poor conditions at High Point Solutions Stadium with a steady light rain persisting the whole game. Turnovers were a problem throughout game, but that might not have been the rain’s fault.
The midfield and defense hustled all night to always pressure the ball handlers, leading Lafayette to turn the ball over 13 times in the first half and 21 times for the game.
“In the first half, we were really reading the feeds inside pretty well and getting some knockdowns and checks inside the eight,” said head coach Laura Brand Sias. “We were forcing them to make their own mistakes in the first.”
Both teams traded goals again to make the score 4-2, but junior goalkeeper Devon Kearns made two extremely difficult saves in the first 10 minutes to preserve the lead. The first half ended with the Knights up 6-3, with Kearns making five saves and Budd adding 2 goals and an assist in the first 30 minutes.
Rutgers started off the second half hot, scoring 3 goals to extend its lead to 9-3. Senior midfielder Paige Paratore and freshman midfielder Taralyn Naslonski both added goals to pad the lead. Budd added another to bring her tally up to 3 goals for the night.
Budd is leading the team in goals with 26 on the season, but she feeds off the play from those around her.
“We all really work together, and we all do what we do,” Budd said. "I have Paige next to me always helping me, and I have (senior attacker and captain) Kerri (Puckhaber) who is always very vocal.”
The Leopards managed to stop a 4-goal run by scoring 2 quick goals to close the lead to 9-5. Then, the teams ended up trading goals again to make the game 10-6.
Naslonski came off the bench and added her second goal of the game and 13th of the season.
“Coming off the bench really fires me up,” Naslonski said. “When I go in, I have to help the offense and make something happen. Also help on the ride and cutting back to the ball on defense.”
The Knights had a difficult time defending Jane Kirby. She had 4 goals and two assists against Rutgers and now has 43 goals on the season.
Every game, Kirby is scoring at will against teams, and the gameplan against her is proving difficult for every coach she plays.
“We approach each game differently,” Brand-Sias said. “Sometimes you pay too much attention to a couple people, and others step up and get some points. So, preparing for a balanced attack or a player-focused offense is equally difficult”
As Lafayette was getting more desperate for goals, the Knights kept their high intensity game play going. The last 15 minutes were filled with back-and-forth action, eventually ending with a score of 12-9.
In the last minute of the game, junior attacker Abbey Brooks went down with what appeared to be a lower body injury. She was helped off the field and did not return to the game.
The shots were even, with almost every statistical category being close, except for the draw controls. Rutgers improved as the game waned on, with Budd getting five draw controls on top of her 3 goals and two assists.
The Knights end the non-conference part of their schedule at 6-5, and head into the four remaining Big Ten games hungry to continue their winning ways.
“We get really excited for every game we play,” Budd said. “We go at the same intensity throughout, doesn’t matter if its non-conference or not.”
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