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Rutgers brings momentum onto road

<p>Midfielder Lauren Sbrilli said Rutgers is focused on stopping Hofstra’s top scorer.</p>

Midfielder Lauren Sbrilli said Rutgers is focused on stopping Hofstra’s top scorer.

Coming off two straight wins, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team has regained a sense of confidence as it moves into the heart of its schedule.

After dropping three games in a row, the Scarlet Knights (5-4) have fought back to a winning record. The offense has been more fluid and scored a season-high 10 goals in their comeback win against Cornell.

Rutgers’ winning streak will be put to the test today at Hofstra (5-5), which has had an up-and-down season thus far. The Pride features one of the nation’s most talented players in attacker Brittain Altomare, who currently ranks 15th in the country with 42 points this season.

“They have a strong attacker [Altomare] that has a lot of their points, so we know we have to shut her down,” said junior midfielder Lauren Sbrilli.

Altomare has accounted for more than a quarter of Hofstra’s goals this season, so stopping her will be key to the Knights’ success in the contest. Rutgers’ defense has bounced back over the past two games after allowing season highs in goals to Stony Brook and Penn State.

Head coach Laura Brand-Sias commented on the importance of a strong team effort on defense in getting a win against the Pride.

“We have some matchups we are prepared for, but if our team defense is working well it will make everything easier,” Brand-Sias said.

The offense must continue to make strides if the Knights want to keep their winning momentum going. Rutgers has scored a combined 18 goals in its past two victories after netting only 14 during its three-game losing streak.

Sbrilli, who scored a hat trick in the Knights’ win Saturday against Cornell, spoke on the other factors that will be crucial to a Rutgers victory.

“They’re very strong on defense, so we have to come out strong and do what we do best and put everything we do in practice onto the field,” Sbrilli said.

The Knights’ intensity level, a factor that always needs improvement according to Brand-Sias, has increased in the past two games.

“Everyone is starting to recognize the benefit of having constant energy and being prepared to play,” Brand-Sias said.

A victory today would give the Knights a wealth of confidence entering its most important portion of the season, Big East conference play.

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

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