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Rutgers Women’s Lacrosse Looks To Build Early Season Momentum

After winning their first game of the season on Saturday, the Scarlet Knights have a big week ahead with two road contests.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team picked up its first win of the season on Saturday against Monmouth by the score of 12-11. The victory was huge for the program looking to get off to a strong start after struggling early on last season. Senior midfielder Kristina Dunphey led the way with 3 goals, while sophomore attacker Abbey Brooks, and redshirt junior attacker Nicole Kopyta each scored twice and had one assist each. Co-captain and senior attacker Amanda Turturro also scored two goals, while junior attacker Kerri Puckhaber finished with one score and three assists in the game. Junior goalkeeper Bianca Dente made 11 saves in the triumph.

It wasn’t easy though, as Rutgers let a comfortable lead evaporate before holding off the Hawks in the final minute of the game. After leading 12-6 and cruising with 9 minutes remaining, they let Monmouth start to dictate the action and had to hold on for a nailbiting one goal victory.

“We did a really good job,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “For whatever reason the way we match up against Monmouth it always ends up being a battle down the stretch. I think we could’ve done a better job in the second half of controlling the time of possession but at the end of the day we battled and we pulled it out. We’re happy with that and we have some great things to learn from this game."

It broke a two game losing streak in this series and gave Rutgers a positive moment to build on after a disappointing season opener on February, 11th.

In the first game of their campaign, Rutgers trailed Temple by three goals before they tied at 11-11 after co-captain Macy Scott scored the equalizer with just a little more than 8 minutes to play. Unfortunately, Temple scored twice in the final minutes and won their third straight over the Scarlet Knights. Kopyta and junior midfielder Paige Paratore each scored two goals in the contest. Freshman midfielder Samantha Budd, Turturro, and Puckhaber each scored once, while also assisting on one goal apiece.

The Scarlet Knights will look to establish their first winning streak of the season when they visit Lafayette on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The leopards are 2-0 so far after a 18-3 win over Longwood and a 17-14 triumph over Binghamton. Rutgers beat Lafayette at High Point Solutions last season handily, winning 19-7.

After a 1-6 start a year ago, Rutgers will look to keep building momentum early on this season. They will take on Delaware on the road this coming Saturday, before returning home the following Wednesday against #11 ranked Penn. Both opponents played each other this past Saturday, with Penn winning 9-7. The Blue Hens are now 1-1, while the Quaker take their 1-0 record up against Johns Hopkins this weekend before visiting Piscataway. Rutgers lost to both Delaware and Penn by at least four goals last season, so these are huge upcoming games for the program.

First though, they need to take care of business in their first road game of the season against Lafayette. They should have confidence after breaking through in their game versus Monmouth. In our season preview, we highlighted coach Laura Brand-Sias’ emphasis on the improved mindset of this team. With just six seniors on the squad, there is a lot of potential for growth this season. The Scarlet Knights look strong on offense through two games and need to continue to gel as a team. Rutgers had three players named as preseason Big Ten Honorees in Turturro, Dunphey, and junior defender Amanda Casten. Good luck to Rutgers on Tuesday at Layette, as they look to build a strong start to the season.