The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team entered Thursday’s road game at Michigan on a two game losing streak, both against top ten ranked teams, and needed to get back on track in Big Ten play. They came out ready from the opening whistle, jumping out to an early 4-0 lead and tallied 11 goals in the first half alone, the most they’ve scored in an opening half this season. After leading by 6 goals at the break and 13-8 midway through the second half, Michigan continued to battle and cut the lead to 15-13 with about nine minutes left in the game. However, Rutgers was able to tighten up defensively and held on for an important 16-14 victory!
Rutgers was led by Kristina Dunphey, Nicole Kopyta, and Samantha Budd, as all three players produced hat tricks in the win. Dunphey actually finished with four goals and Budd added an assist. Senior co-captain Amanda Turturro added two goals, while goalie Bianca Dente finished with seven saves, including a point blank stop in the closing minutes of the game.
"Not our best performance, but we were put in a position to fight and we did," said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. "We are going to be proud of that and learn as much as we can from this game."
It has been a good week for Rutgers lacrosse, as both the men’s and women’s teams went into the Big House and left victorious over Michigan.
The win improved Rutgers to 8-6 on the season and 2-2 in Big Ten play. They currently sit in fourth place in the conference with two games remaining in the regular season. Their next contest is senior day versus #18 Northwestern at home, which is part of “Spring Fever” at Rutgers on Saturday, April 22nd. The women’s lacrosse team will play at 11 am at High Point Solutions Stadium, followed by a concert with Big & Rich at 3:30 pm. Lastly, the Rutgers football spring game will take place at 5 pm. Both the women’s lacrosse game and spring football game will be televised by BTN.
After their home finale, Rutgers will conclude the regular season at Johns Hopkins on April 27th. This is a huge game in Big Ten play for the Scarlet Knights, as they currently sit in fourth place with a 2-2 conference record, one ahead of John Hopkins in fifth place at 1-3.
The Big Ten Tournament takes place at Maryland on May 5th. Rutgers has a chance to finish the season strong after entering this week 23rd in the RPI rankings. Northwestern began the week with an RPI ranking of 12th and Johns Hopkins is 17th. A win over either would boost their chances for the NCAA Tournament, while also improving their standing within the Big Ten. In what has been a nice bounce back season for the program, let’s hope they can finish with their best lacrosse down the stretch.