September 17, 2019 | 61° F

Rutgers’ defense attempts to rebound in crucial matchup

Photo by Edwin Gano |

Senior defender Sara Mahon is one of several players on Rutgers’ backline that will be looking to perform better against UConn in Big East Play. The Knights conceded 14 goals in their last game against Villanova.

Following a disappointing loss to Villanova in its conference-play opener, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team aims to rebound in a big way tomorrow night against Connecticut at High Point Solutions Stadium.

The Scarlet Knights (6-5, 0-1) placed a large emphasis on performing well in its conference schedule. Defeating the Huskies (6-4, 1-0) would obviously increase the Knights’ chances of making the Big East Tournament.

The conference features eight teams, with the top four making the conference tournament.

With six games remaining on its schedule, Rutgers needs to take advantage of conference games in order to play in the postseason.

The Huskies feature a high-powered offense that scores an average of 10.9 goals per game.

UConn comes off one of its most complete games of the season, scoring 15 goals in its last win against Temple.

Former Big East Midfielder of the Year Lauren Kahn, who has scored 21 goals and a team high in points, leads UConn’s attack.

Kahn’s performance’s warranted the attention of the Knights’ coaching staff, along with the defense.

“They’ve got some big guns on offense, especially Lauren Kahn who is a fast and aggressive dodger, so we have to be on point defensively,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias.

After allowing 14 goals to Villanova last Saturday, the defense has used this week of training to correct the mistakes they have forwarded.

“We’ve spent this week to really reinvent our defense and fix what hasn’t been working,” Brand-Sias said.

While the defense needs to correct its mistakes, the offense has struggled less this season.

The Knights have found their groove on offense, scoring 10 or more goals in their past three games.

The attack line came a long way since the start of the season and carries momentum into the game against the Huskies.

UConn also features goalkeeper Shannon Nee, who was a preseason All Big-East honoree. The matchup between Rutgers’ offense and the talented goalie could be decisive in the game.

With the Knights’ up-and-down season thus far, every win they can secure at this point is important.

Rutgers has six conference games remaining, and the team realizes the importance of getting a win in its upcoming contest against the Huskies.

“We need to play our game and control what we can,” said senior defender Sara Mahon.

Although Brand-Sias never tries to place emphasis on one single game, she had strong words for the urgency the Knights need to play with.

“I never want to say we’re in do or die mode, but we need to win this game on Saturday,” Brand-Sias said.

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

By Conor Nordland

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