No. 13 Rutgers women’s lacrosse remained unbeaten and earned its first ranked win of the season on Wednesday night in defeating No. 18 Temple on the road 15-9. The Scarlet Knights are now 7-0 and off to the best start to a season in the program’s 46 year history. It’s been a tremendous start to the season and their No. 13 national ranking is also the highest in program history.
“We spoke before the game about how tonight was going to be a battle,” said head coach Melissa Lehman. “The team who was grittier and would be able to take advantage of the 50-50 wins was going to take it I felt we controlled the middle of the game and locked it down defensively. I’m just really proud of the way this team continues to fight.”
The balanced attack for Rutgers has been a major key to their success this Spring. Five different players have scored double digit goals and five have also dished out at least 4 assists.
Fifth year senior TT Naslonski scored 5 goals in the win and leads the team with 28 goals this season and is second in points with 31. With her performance, Naslonski passed Heather Jones, who played from 1991-1994, for third all-time in points with 207.
St. Joe’s graduate transfer Stephanie Kelly scored once and had 6 assists in the win over Temple. She leads the team with 22 assists and 34 points, while fourth with 12 goals this season. Her addition to the roster has made Rutgers more dynamic and given opponents another explosive playmaker to try to contain.
Preseason All-American junior Cassidy Spilis has been extremely efficient in converting 61.5% of her shots into goals and is third on the team with 24 after scoring twice against Temple. She now has 100 goals in her distinguished career.
Senior Marin Hartshorn is having a strong campaign and scored twice in the win on Wednesday over the Owls. She is fourth on the team with 13 goals and 17 points.
Sophomore Kate Carolonza scored twice in the victory and is fifth with 10 goals this season. Junior Jenna Bryne added a pair of goals as well and is sixth on the team with 12 points this season. In addition, classmate Ashley Campo had a goal and 2 ground balls. She is fifth with 16 points and second on the team with 14 ground balls.
Preseason All-American Meghan Ball continues to lead the defense and has won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors in back to back weeks. She had a game high six draw controls, three ground balls and two caused turnovers in the victory. Ball leads Rutgers with 41 draw controls, 20 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers.
Goalkeeper Sophia Cardello made six saves in the win over Temple and has a 9.04 goals-against-average along with a .439 save percentage this season.
After their comeback 17-16 win over Georgetown last month, Rutgers won three consecutive games by double digits before the win over Temple. They defeated Lehigh 17-6, Monmouth 19-8 and Villanova 17-4 all at home.
The schedule continues to ramp up as Rutgers visits No. 21 James Madison (3-2) on Saturday, March 12 at 1 p.m. ET in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The Dukes have played two other Big Ten foes, defeating Ohio State 15-4 on the road followed by a 14-10 loss at Penn State.
The Scarlet Knights will then open Big Ten play on the road at No. 4 Maryland (5-0) in what should be a battle with long term implications on the line.