Rutgers falls to No. 4 James Madison

The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team traveled to Harrisonburg, Virginia to face No. 4 James Madison over the weekend, ending in a tight 10-7 loss to the Dukes. The Scarlet Knights (4-4), coming off a win against Monmouth, took on the Dukes (6-1) but couldn’t keep up to the final whistle. 

The game was tied with less than 8 minutes left in the game. James Madison capitalized on a 3-0 run in the final minutes to secure the win.

The Dukes started off the game 2-0 with goals scored by Maddie McDaniel and Hanna Haven. But Rutgers stayed close behind with back-to-back goals from true freshman attack Marin Hartshorn and junior midfielder Dakota Pastore. 

Junior midfielder Samantha Budd assisted on both Harshorn and Pastore's goals.

James Madison and the Knights went back and forth before sophomore attacker Taralyn Naslonski tied the game 6-6 with 7 seconds left in the first half. In the second half, Rutgers wasn't able to keep its offensive flow going, with only a lone goal from freshman midfielderBudd. 

The Dukes kept scoring, eventually adding on 4 more goals to secure the win. Goals in the second half were scored by James Madison's Charlotte Haggerty, Haven, Mairead Durkin, Kelsey Reed and Daria Lucchesi.

This game proved that the Knights have what it takes to take on a highly-ranked opponent, and are close to making the most out of their strong team. The defense throughout the season has shown the ability to keep other teams at bay alongside young talent between the pipes. 

The offense also showed their dominance, as Naslonski and Budd led the offense during the game. 

Despite the loss, Rutgers wasn't able to keep the reigning national champions under its 13.83 scoring average, with solid defense and freshman goalie Kameron Halsall between the pipes.

Halsall set a new personal best with 11 saves while the defense was able to force 14 turnovers. Gameplay can be improved by lowering the team’s turnovers, as the Knights allowed 19 against the Dukes. Rutgers has seen generally positive clearing, successfully completing 21 out of 26 clears.

On the offensive side of the field, the Knights were led by Naslonski with her sixth hat trick of the season. a Budd added 3 total points with two assists and 1 goal. 

Senior attack Allie Ferrara, Pastore and Hartshorn each had a goal. Rutgers' offense can improve on its free position shot conversions, as it was only able to score on 2 of 9 free position shots.

The Knights will face another very strong opponent later in the week as they take on No. 7 Northwestern. 

This will be Rutgers' third ranked opponent and first Big Ten matchup of the season. The team can use its home field advantage and rather consistent gameplay to battle for a win against Northwestern. 

If the Knights keep improving, they have a solid chance versus Northwestern on Thursday. 

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

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