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Rutgers edged by No. 8 Michigan despite 2nd half push

The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team travelled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to face off against No. 8 Michigan and fell short of a win. Despite a second half push, the Scarlet Knights (5-9, 0-4) lost 12-8 to the Wolverines (14-1, 4-1). 

Rutgers has now lost its last four matchups, three of which were Big Ten Conference games. Before Saturday’s game, the Knights were 4-0 against Michigan, making this their first loss against the Wolverines.

Rutgers trailed all game, attempting to catch up for 60 minutes. The first half proved tough, as the Knights trailed 8-4 at halftime. 

Michigan struck first 17 seconds into the game, with Caitlin Muir scoring for the Wolverines. Sophomore attack Taralyn Naslonski scored first for Rutgers, the only time the two teams were tied before Michigan moved ahead. 

The Wolverines went on a 4-goal run with goals from Nadine Stewart, Molly Garrett and two more from Muir extending the lead to 5-1. Senior attack Abbey Brooks scored her only goal after the Michigan trio to break up the momentum. 

Freshmen midfielder Camryn Rogers and attack Marin Hartshorn both scored before the half bring the score to 8-4.

The second half was revived with a burst of excitement as junior midfielder Samantha Budd scored 3 goals in a row for the Knights, bringing the score to 9-7. The Wolverines had some extra offensive prowess up their sleeves, answering Budd’s second half hat-trick with three more goals of their own. 

After a last-minute goal from Rogers, Rutgers ended the game close, but it wasn’t enough. In the end, Michigan’s goal leader Muir finished the game with 5 goals, followed by Stewart and Garrett with two, and one a piece from Maggie Kane, Erin Daly and Kaitlyn Mead. 

The Knights' were led by Budd’s hat trick, two from Rogers, and one each from Brooks, Naslonski and Hartshorn.

Looking at team stats, Rutgers was outshot 43-30 with 16 shots on goal. Turnovers were similar, with the Knights committing 13 and the Wolverines with 11 of their own. Rutgers had 12 ground balls and won 8 draw controls. The team went perfect on 17 clears.

The Knights had their fair share of defeats throughout the season, as they now have a season record of five wins and nine losses. Rutgers has had flashes of strong showings this season, but just hasn’t been able to capitalize on its strengths to get the win over its opponents. 

The team’s schedule is definitely a hard one. The Knights have played six ranked opponents and did their best to keep up in each one of them. The Big Ten boosts a high quality group of schools with strong programs.

The season dwindles down to two more games before the Big Ten Tournament, with two Big Ten rivals up next on Rutgers' schedule. 

This Saturday, the Knights host Ohio State for a hot match-up against a conference rival. Rutgers will continue to use its offensive stars against the Buckeyes (8-7, 0-4) at HighPoint.com Stadium. 

The Knights look to end the season on a more positive note, with Ohio State first and Penn State for the final game of the season.

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

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