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Women's Lacrosse: Hoyas offer chance to end losing skid

<p>Sophomore defender Hollie DiMuro forced three turnovers and grabbed four groundballs versus No. 5 Syracuse. She leads the team in both categories.</p>

Sophomore defender Hollie DiMuro forced three turnovers and grabbed four groundballs versus No. 5 Syracuse. She leads the team in both categories.

The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team hosts Villanova tomorrow in the middle game of a five-game homestand.

After they dropped their first three Big East contests, the Scarlet Knights (8-4, 0-3) will try to end the skid. The Wildcats (5-6, 0-3) enter on a three-game losing skid of their own.

Rutgers and Villanova have had identical opponents to begin conference play and both have fallen to Syracuse, Notre Dame and Connecticut, respectively.

Similarly, the last two victories for both teams came against Marquette, who is currently not in Big East.

But a rocky start to the season leaves Villanova under .500 while the Knights still maintain a solid record thanks to an 8-1 record in nonconference play.

But this is a game the Knights must win if they do not want that early-season success to go to waste, as beginning Big East play with four straight losses would leave a major hole.

Rutgers fell short of an upset bid against the No. 5 Syracuse on Sunday after it led by two goals with 17 minutes remaining in the game.

Head coach Laura Brand-Sias was happy to see a quality 60-minute performance from her players.

They must now assert that energy against Villanova — something they’ve had a problem doing against lesser-ranked squads.

“I think there’s certainly times we have trouble coming out from the start when we’re playing teams that aren’t ranked high in the country,” said assistant coach Lisa Staedt Ojea.

Ojea said the defense has to come out with the mentality of keeping the game low scoring. She said the focus will be to take care of the ball in transition.

In previous games, players on defense have set a benchmark for the number of goals they are willing to allow. Sophomore defender Hollie DiMuro has her own expectations for tomorrow’s game.

“Not allowing any goals in,” she said jokingly. “I want to try that, no goals — keep it to a low number.”

But the message is clear — the defense sets a standard for itself before every game and this one will be no different.

The Knights need to take advantage of having the second-ranked scoring defense on their side.

While they have only allowed 10 or more goals twice this season, the offense has failed to reach double-digits in four consecutive games.

But the offensive struggles are understandable with the level of competition they have faced as of late.

After facing a pair of top-10 teams as well as UConn who, with a 9-1 record, are heading toward a spot in the top 25, the Wildcats are a welcome sight.

A player to watch tomorrow is junior midfielder Amanda Trendell.

Trendell — along with junior attack Megan Clements — led the Knights with three points against the Orange. She kicked off the scoring early in the first period and at times looked as if she was the fastest player on the field for either side.

For Villanova, attack Jackie Froccaro paced the team in last Sunday’s 12-11 overtime loss to Connecticut. She recorded four goals to go along with two assists and sparked a late-game rally with a goal midway through the second half that would eventually lead to overtime.

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