Last season, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team had a disappointing start, but finished very strong down the stretch. Despite a 6-12 overall record, they won three consecutive Big Ten games, including two overtime victories over a ranked Ohio State team, one which was the program’s first Big Ten tournament win. They ultimately fell in the conference tournament semifinals to eventual Big Ten champion and #1 ranked Maryland. Their fourth place finish was their highest since joining the Big Ten.
Head coach Laura Brand-Sias begins her 15th season leading the program and has many key players returning. Senior Midfielder Kristina Dunphey led Rutgers with 44 goals and 56 points last season, netting her an All-Big Ten selection. She was named an Honorable Mention Preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse for this upcoming season. Senior Attacker Amanda Turturro led the team in assists with 18 last season and is the second leading scorer returning behind Dunphey. Top Defender Amanda Casten returns after leading the team in ground balls and forced turnovers as a sophomore last season. All three Scarlet Knights were named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors List.
Rutgers will be captained by Turturro and senior midfielder Macy Scott, who is joining the Marines after she graduates this spring. She was featured by the Big Ten in this spot below and was recently honored at a Rutgers men’s basketball game last month.
Coach Brand-Sias had this to say to scarletknights.com about the upcoming season:
“We get a different sense from this year’s team in terms of the overall buy-in. I think there’s more of a universal mindset in terms of what we need to do and how we need to get there. It’s a group that’s very realistic about what we need to do and what our strengths and weaknesses are. They’re a coachable group, they’ve really bought in and it’s exciting.”
“Our philosophy is still the same. The Big Ten is one of, if not the, premier conference in the country. In order for us to really compete in the Big Ten we have to set ourselves up against some of the best competition that we can. Adding Johns Hopkins makes the Big Ten even more competitive which is great. We kind of forecasted that they were going to be added so we played them each of the last two seasons. If we want to get to that next level, that elite level, we’ve got to play elite teams to set ourselves up for success.”
Rutgers will play seven teams that made the NCAA tournament last season and six that finished ranked in the Top 20 of the polls. For a full look at their 2017 schedule, click here.
Aside from performance on the field, the women’s lacrosse program has consistently set the mark for academic results across the Rutgers athletic department under Brand-Sias’ tenure as head coach. Rutgers received IWLCA Academic Squad honors last season for the 10th year in a row and the NCAA recognized the program for the 4th straight year with an APR Public Recognition Award. Brand-Sias talks with the Big Ten Network about the upcoming season and the academic culture within the program.
The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team opens their season today at 1 p.m. at High Point Solutions Stadium against Temple. They are looking to break a two game losing streak against the Owls and to continue their four game winning streak in season openers.
Here is the season preview from RVision.
Good luck to the women’s lacrosse team in their home opener today and the entire season. We will have coverage throughout the season, as the program looks to take a step forward and build off of last year’s strong finish.