After winning the first NCAA Tournament game in program history this past Spring, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team made two significant announcements this week that only strengthens next season’s roster.
On Monday, one of the best players in program history, TT Naslonski, announced that she was returning for a fifth season. After earning her bachelor’s degree in communication in the spring, she will enter graduate school at Rutgers to work towards a master’s degree in communication and media.
Naslonski led Rutgers with 57 points and 23 assists last season, in addition to scoring 34 goals. She led the Scarlet Knights with 4 goals and 3 assists in the NCAA Tourney win over No. 10 Drexel. With 176 career points, Naslonski is currently sixth all-time in program history and now has a chance to move up the ranks next spring.
”Rutgers University has always held a special place in my heart,” Naslonski said. “Competing in one of the best athletic conference while receiving a high-level education is something I am forever grateful for.”
“We are thrilled to have TT back for another year in a Scarlet Knight uniform,” head coach Melissa Lehman said. “TT bleeds Rutgers’ red and has so much pride for this team and University. After an impressive senior season where she elevated her game to scorer and assister, I am excited to see what TT accomplishes with this group in her fifth year.”
On Wednesday, Rutgers announced the addition of graduate transfer Stephanie Kelly, who was named the 2021 Atlantic-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year for St. Joseph’s. The Melbourne, Australia native is eligible immediately and will play the last season of her collegiate career on the banks.
Kelly led the Atlantic-10 with 91 points and 46 assists last Spring, which were also single-season program records for a St. Joe’s team that won 10 games. She was also fourth in the conference with 45 goals and helped lead the Hawks to the A-10 championship game. The All-Region selection finished her St Joseph’s career as the program’s all-time leader with 109 assists and second with 237 points.
“We are so excited to welcome Steph to the Rutgers family,” Lehman said. “Her ability to produce and facilitate on the offensive end will fit in well with our attacking unit and our style of play.”
Rutgers is in great position to build off of last season’s historic campaign and taking another step forward in 2022. Offensively, the Scarlet Knights return its top five scorers which includes All-American Cassidy Spilis and all-region selection Marin Hartshorn in addition to the All-Big Ten standout Naslonski. Adding an accomplished player like Kelly into the mix will only make Rutgers a more balanced and dangerous team to deal with next season. RU is clearly headed in the right direction with third-year head coach Melissa Lehman at the helm.