2 Rutgers lacrosse players earn Big Ten Player of Week honors

Junior midfielder Samantha Budd and senior defenseman Kyle Pless were each recognized by the Big Ten Conference for the Rutgers women’s and men’s lacrosse teams, respectively.

Budd earned the Big Ten Player of the Week award along with Maryland’s Kari Hartshorn. The West Deptford, New Jersey native netted 8 goals last week, including a career-high 7 goals, in the Scarlet Knights’ (5-6, 0-2) win over Lafayette and one in the loss at Johns Hopkins.

With 48 seconds remaining in the last period, she broke through the Leopards’ (4-5) defense and fired a shot past goalkeeper Quinn Lacy to secure a Rutgers 16-15 win in Easton, Pennsylvania for the team’s second road win of the season.

“I was really happy with how Sam Budd stepped up today,” said head coach Laura Brand Sias last Tuesday. “She had a great game (against Lafayette) and we were really riding her performance for the duration of the game.

Against the Leopards, Budd tallied 9 points, tying a career high which she set against Monmouth on March 5.

Budd is second on the team with 30 goals, 11 assists and 41 points through 11 games played this season. 

Prior to arriving at New Brunswick, Budd, who was a three-sport athlete at West Deptford High School, was named a Preseason Big Ten Player to Watch. She has the program record for draws controlled in a single game (12 against Temple last season).

As a sophomore last season, Budd was the team leader with 30 goals and tied with alumnus Kerri Puckhaber for first in points (37). She also recorded 62 shots on goal in 2018.

For Pless, this is the third time he captures the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award, in his last season on the Banks. He created four turnovers while scooping two ground balls in the No. 17 Scarlet Knights’ (5-4) 10-7 victory against Hofstra, last Saturday at HighPoint.com Stadium.

Pless, a team captain, first earned the weekly accolade during the first week of action when he made his first start as defense, on Feb. 2 against Lafayette, after transitioning from long-stick midfield to the backline.

He also earned the award on March 5, after spearheading Rutgers’ defensive front in a 8-4 win over Fairfield earlier this month. 

He started every game last season at long-stick, tallying 28 ground balls. He has already surpassed his previous mark of 11 caused turnovers with a team-high 16 this season.

Pless, a Highlands Ranch, Colorado native, was drafted by the Denver Outlaws in the seventh round of this year’s Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Draft. 

Before he stepped foot into the defenseman’s role for his senior year, Pless was named a 2019 Preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse.

A U.S. Lacrosse All-American during his junior and senior years at Mountain Vista High School in Colorado, Pless forced a career-high four turnovers earlier this season in the Knights’ 13-10 loss to Lehigh back on March 12.

He has recorded 21 ground balls, good for second on the team behind fifth-year senior face-off specialist Alex Schoen.

Through 54 collegiate games, Pless has tallied 101 ground balls and has caused 51 turnovers.

For updates on the Rutgers men's and women's lacrosse teams, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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