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Rutgers picks up 1st Big Ten win in OT thriller

The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team earned its first Big Ten win of the season when it played Michigan at High Point Solutions Stadium on Thursday night

The Scarlet Knights (7-8, 1-3) beat the Wolverines (5-10, 1-4) in overtime by a score of 9-8.

Rutgers teams led by head coach Laura Brand Sias have never lost to Michigan before, and they knew what to expect leading up to this game.

“We knew it was going to be a grudge match,” Brand Sias said. “We could’ve done a better job breaking their defense, which would lead to more assisting opportunities, but we’ll learn from that.”

The game started with the Wolverines scoring in the first 20 seconds, taking a 1-0 lead. Senior attacker Joanna Reilly leveled the game at 1-1, after earning her fifth start of the season.

Both teams split the next 2 goals, with freshman midfielder Taralyn Naslonski scoring a bouncing goal for the team. 

Again, the teams split goals to tie the game at 3-3 with approximately 6 minutes left in the half. Reilly scored her second goal of the day, which evened the game for the Knights.

Before the first half ended, Rutgers took a temporary lead as senior midfielder Paige Paratore scored her first goal of the day. Approximately 2 minutes later, Michigan scored the last goal of the half to send the teams into the locker room at 4-4.

During the beginning of the first half, the Wolverines were trying to jump the passes and force the Knights to turn the ball over with soft passes. Rutgers got better with crisp passes on the perimeter of the offensive area as the game progressed.

The second half opened with the Knights scoring the first 3 out of 4 goals, giving Rutgers a 7-5 lead. 

Sophomore midfielder Samantha Budd and senior attacker and captain Kerri Puckhaber scored their first goals. Paratore scored her second of the game and secured her 11th multi-goal game of the season.

Michigan then went on a 3-goal run to take its first lead of the second half with just more than 12 minutes left.

The Knights rallied and scored with 9 minutes left to tie the game at 8-8. Paratore grabbed her third of the game and took the team lead in scoring at 29 for the season.

Junior goalkeeper Devon Kearns made the biggest save of the game in the final 2 minutes, when the Wolveriens jumped on a turnover and started a fastbreak. In a 3-on-2 situation, Kearns made a kick save to keep the score at 8-8. 

Regulation time ended at a deadlock, so the teams went to overtime. A minute and a half into overtime, Paratore sent a rocket shot into the corner of the net, scoring her fourth goal of the night and winning the game for Rutgers.

“As soon as I beat (the defender), I looked at the net, and I honestly put everything I had in my body into that shot,” Paratore said.

Both teams were playing extremely physical defense from the start, not relenting for the whole game. Neither team gave up easy shots, as fouls were called all over the field.

Once the game got to overtime, there was one main goal Brand Sias set in front of her team.

“The draw control was the biggest piece, since we weren’t really getting that,” Brand Sias said. “And then we had a play drawn up, which we didn’t land on that shot, but we came up big in the end.”

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

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