The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team won for the fifth time in their last six games Tuesday night, defeating Niagara 18-8 at High Point Solutions Stadiums. It was a rainy affair, but they were able to get off to a quick start, building a 5-1 lead midway through the first half. They ended up leading 10-4 at the half and continued to add to their lead, as the game was out of reach with Niagara trailing 14-5 midway through the second frame.
The Rutgers scoring attack included ten players who found the back of the net, including hat tricks by Kristina Dunphey and Abbey Brooks, who also added an assist. Four players scored twice, including Kerri Puckhaber, Macy Scott, Kelsey Cuje, and Nicole Kopyta. Puckhaber also dished out three assists for a team best 5 points in the contest. Rutgers outshot Niagara 36-15 in the game.
“We played well in spurts, so we’re going to be happy with this win,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “At halftime, we spoke about playing with our own identity regardless of who our opponent is. We just tried to match the intensity we had Friday night. We lacked that in the first half, but I think we did a better job in the second half of picking that up.”
Despite the rainy conditions, there was plenty of reason to celebrate. Rutgers is now 7-4 in 2017 and have already exceeded their win total from the past two seasons. It was the third time their balanced scoring attack netted at least 15 goals in the past four games.
Before resuming Big Ten play (1-1 record) on April 8th versus #1 ranked Maryland, Rutgers plays host to Cornell (6-1) this Saturday at 1 p.m. The Ivy league power’s only loss this season came at the hands of Big Ten foe Penn State by the score of 9-8. The only loss for Rutgers in the past six games was to the Nittany Lions 18-7. In this week’s Inside Lacrosse media poll, Penn State is ranked #5, Cornell is #7, and Rutgers received votes. If the Scarlet Knights could pull the upset this weekend, they would enter the national rankings for the first time this season.
Finally, the program continued an annual tradition of having players invite their favorite professor to the game and they were honored on the field as well. It’s a touching salute to the hard working educators that make Rutgers University great in the classroom.