It was an historic weekend for the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team. After beating no. 13 Penn State for the first time in program history, the Scarlet Knights upended no. 11 Maryland on Sunday for the first time ever as well.
After trailing 4-2 midway through the first half, Rutgers went on a 6-0 scoring run to head into the break with a commanding lead. It was a total team effort as all six goals were scored by different players.
Maryland fought back to tie it at 9-9 in the second half, but RU put together a game changing 7-0 run behind two goals apiece from Taralyn Naslonski, Cassidy Spilis and Ashley Moynahan. Despite the Terps fighting back once again, Rutgers held on for a 16-14 victory over the defending NCAA Champions.
Naslonski (4 goals, 1 assist) and Marin Hartshorn (2 goals, 3 assists) finished with a team high five points each, while Spilis registered a hat trick. Ashley Campo added two goals and Jenna Byrne had a goal and two assists.
Goalkeeper Sophia Cardello had a career high 10 saves in net for the Scarlet Knights.
“We started strong today and knew we could finish,” Lehman said. “The defense in the first half was some of the best we’ve played all season, and we were efficient on the offensive side of the ball and played together. We’ve gained some momentum here at the end of the regular season and I could not me more proud of this team.”
Getting a statement win against Maryland was especially sweet coming on Senior Day, as the program honored six players: Brooke Baldelli, Hannah Hollingsworth, Jacquelyn Jester, Julia Lytle, Taralyn Naslonski and Dana Pena.
“They’ve been leaders during one of the toughest years imaginable,” said head coach Melissa Lehman. “They just pour their heart and soul into this program and you see it on the field. We’re so pumped for them.”
Rutgers moved up to no. 16 in the IWLCA Coaches Poll on Monday and at 5-7 have the most wins in Big Ten play since competing in the league since 2015. Head coach Melissa Lehman is in her second season but conference play never occurred last spring with COVID-19 cancelling the season early. To make the strides that this team has already made this spring is a major accomplishment and step forward for the program.
The Scarlet Knights have completed its regular season but there are two league games remaining between Johns Hopkins and Michigan. RU is currently in fourth place and have a break until the Big Ten Tournament takes place from April 29-May 2 in University Park, Pennsylvania.