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Less than four minutes remained in the first half of the Rutgers women’s lacrosse game against Cincinnati on Sunday when sophomore midfielder Katrina Martinelli cut through a host of Bearcat defenders. Standing at the top of the key with the ball, senior attack Danielle Mascera did exactly what she has all season long. She passed. The ball went through the defenders to Martinelli, who found the back of the net to give Mascera the Scarlet Knights’ single-season assist record with 29.
For the Rutgers women’s tennis team, Sunday marked the last time its senior class took the court at the Rutgers Tennis Complex. But the emotional match resulted in a Scarlet Knights victory, defeating West Virginia, 6-1, in the Knights’ regular-season finale. While the match was bittersweet for Jennifer Holzberg, the senior was satisfied her last home match was a win. “It felt good,” Holzberg said.
Senior attack Danielle Mascera made it very clear Friday about what the goal for the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team was yesterday in its game against Cincinnati. “We have to kill them,” Mascera said. “We need to have a big game that we are winning by 10 so we can move up in the rankings.” A late four-goal scoring run from Cincinnati prevented winning by that margin, but the Scarlet Knights pulled out a victory, defeating the Bearcats, 13-10, on Senior Day.
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Overcast weather is not something the Rutgers tennis team usually has to factor in when it takes the court. But with the sun coming and going as it pleased — coupled with spurts of rain and wind yesterday — the Scarlet Knights secured a victory against in-state rival Seton Hall, 6-1. Assistant coach Hilary Tyler, who coached the team for the day, did not mind the weather, which resulted in suspended play twice during the match.
With three games standing between the Rutgers tennis team and the Big East Tournament, senior Morgan Ivey knows how vital it is for the Scarlet Knights to finish strong. “It’s extremely important,” Ivey said. “It pretty much determines where we will stand in rankings going into the tournament. It determines if you will be playing the No. 1 seed in the second round or whether you play the fourth seed in the second round, so it’s a big difference.”
For head coach Laura Brand-Sias, it was not the effort Saturday from the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team that was the problem in its 15-10 loss at Syracuse. It was the missed opportunities around the net that she would like the team to have back. “If we had a better percentage in that, it could have been a different game,” Brand-Sias said. “You never want to walk away from seven opportunities on cage and only have one goal out of them, so that’s something we will continue to work on.”
In the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team’s loss to Syracuse on Saturday, midfielder Stephanie Anderson registered her team-leading 30th goal of the season on a pass from junior attack Annie McGinley. The goal also led to Anderson’s sixth hat trick. But for the junior, being the team’s leading scorer did not cross her mind entering this season. Injuries tend to keep things in perspective, and Anderson is happy with taking the field.
Playing the No. 2 team in the country Saturday, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team started fast with a two-goal lead. But the Orange were too much, defeating the Scarlet Knights, 15-10, in Syracuse, N.Y. Head coach Laura Brand-Sias was disappointed with the loss, but remained satisfied with the way the Knights performed against such a highly-ranked opponent. “[Our performance] showed that we’re a good team today,” Brand-Sias said.
With the Rutgers football team putting on pads for the first time Saturday, Chas Dodd was as excited as anyone to see contact for the first time in more than three months. “It feels great just getting the pads on,” the junior quarterback said. “Obviously we’re not hitting [full contact], but to see some action out here is a lot of fun. I know the guys were excited about it.” But while the energy of the Scarlet Knights’ third spring practice was evident, head coach Kyle Flood’s commitment to naming a starting quarterback was not.
Rutgers women’s lacrosse midfielder Stephanie Anderson described the team’s focus in practice this week with only one word. “Our word for this week is fire,” the junior said. “We want to come out on fire like we did [last game] and continue that.” The fire Anderson alluded to is the Scarlet Knights’ quick start at the beginning of Sunday’s 14-5 victory against Connecticut. The Knights scored four straight goals before UConn found the back of the net.
With back-to-back losses during the weekend to Yale and Denver, it was important for the Rutgers tennis team to get back above .500 entering the later part of its schedule. The Scarlet Knights accomplished it emphatically yesterday in a 7-0 win against Connecticut to move to 9-8 this season. “We played very strong tennis today,” said head coach Ben Bucca. “This was a very good day for Rutgers tennis.”
If there is one thing Morgan Ivey and the rest of the Rutgers tennis team took from last weekend’s losses to Yale and Denver, it was to focus on their separate goals each felt she needed to improve. “Individually, we know what we need to work on,” Ivey said. “Tennis is an individual sport. While we practice as a team, we each have to go out with our personal goals of what we need to work on in each match.”
After the Rutgers tennis team suffered its second loss of the weekend in a 5-2 loss to Denver, head coach Ben Bucca could only find one word to describe the outcome of two matches: frustrating. “Down the line we played really good tennis,” Bucca said. “But on the other hand, there is a degree of frustration, and that is to see that we can compete against the best but come up short.”
With less than a 48-hour turnaround, Rutgers head women’s lacrosse coach Laura Brand-Sias was proud of the way the team handled adversity entering yesterday’s game against Connecticut. “The one thing I’m happy about is that they all hurt right now,” Brand Sias said Friday. “They are taking this to heart. … We have to take the positives out of it and bring it into Sunday.” Those positives were evident against UConn, as the Scarlet Knights defeated the Huskies, 14-5, earning their first Big East victory of the season after losing Friday to No. 6 Notre Dame.
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team takes the RU Turf Field today with four straight wins and a Big East Honor Roll selection at its disposal. That still might not be enough for the Scarlet Knights to win their Big East opener, as the they host Notre Dame at 4 p.m. in the Fighting Irish’s first-ever visit to Piscataway. Notre Dame (7-0) enters the matchup with one Big East victory already under its belt from when the team beat Louisville last Saturday, 13-11.
In the midst of a two-game win streak, the Rutgers tennis team will have a difficult time stretching it to three tomorrow when the Scarlet Knights travel to New Haven, Conn., to face No. 24 Yale. The Knights are 0-3 this spring against ranked foes, dropping a 7-0 match to Princeton and losing to Big East teams Syracuse and DePaul earlier in the year. The Bulldogs (10-3) serve as Rutgers’ toughest opponent yet, holding a 4-0 record on their home court.
The Rutgers tennis team’s 4-3 victory against St. John’s on Sunday yielded a familiar outcome in No. 4 singles play: a win for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers sophomore Stefania Balasa can take credit for the success in the No. 4 singles position. Balasa defeated the Red Storm’s Nakita Austin, 6-4, 6-2, moving her conference record in singles to 5-0. As of Sunday’s match, she also sports a 10-3 overall singles record, good for first on the team in the win column.
Rutgers head tennis coach Ben Bucca stressed the importance of winning the doubles point all season to set the tone for the rest of the match. That emphasis was evident Sunday, as the Scarlet Knights defeated St. John’s, 4-3, at the Atlantic Club. With the Knights splitting singles, 3-3, their victory in doubles play was the reason they captured their second straight win. “Doubles is key, especially in these matches that are close,” Bucca said.
It took two overtime periods, but the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team captured its fourth straight victory Saturday, defeating Fairfield, 11-10. Sophomore midfielder Lauren Sbrilli scored the winning goal 44 seconds into the second overtime period, securing the Scarlet Knights’ fifth victory of the season. Head coach Laura Brand-Sias was happy to simply leave Connecticut on the winning end.
While the weather outside resembled the conditions the Rutgers tennis team experienced during its three-game trip to South Carolina, the outcome of yesterday’s match yielded a different result. The Scarlet Knights secured an easy victory against Villanova in their first outdoor home match in two years, defeating the Wildcats, 7-0, at the Rutgers Tennis Complex. “We didn’t have one home match here my whole freshman year, so it’s pretty much my first home match ever,” said sophomore Vanessa Petrini.