No. 13 Rutgers women’s lacrosse won its first Big Ten game of the season on Saturday in thrilling fashion. After trailing 9-5 midway through the third quarter and 10-8 early in the fourth quarter, the Scarlet Knights persevered. Marin Hartshorn was able to find TT Naslonski, who scored the game winning goal with seconds left in regulation to secure the victory. The 12-11 win over No. 20 Johns Hopkins (5-5; 0-2) was the third ranked win of the season for RU as they improved to 9-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
“We talk about finishing and fighting until the end,” said head coach Melissa Lehman. “This team just believes in themselves and they fight until the end. That gritty play down the stretch is what won us the game today.”
“Our offense was just working together and working the ball,” Naslonski said. “Cassidy [Spilis] was having a great day, so we were trying to get her the ball but they were guarding her really well. Marin called for the flip and and I came off of it. That goal was all Marin. She set me up perfectly.”
Naslonski had 2 goals and 2 assists in the win over Hopkins. Her four points tied her for second all-time with Katie Batiuk, who played from 2004-2007, with 216 in her Rutgers career. The fifth year player is only 16 points away from tying Denise Reed’s program record 232 points during her career from 1987-1990. Naslonski is second on the team this season with 32 goals and 40 points overall.
Junior Cassidy Spilis led the comeback in the second half in scoring four of her five goals in the game after halftime. She leads the team with 37 goals this season, is tied for 13th nationally with 3.7 goals per game and is 17th in the country with a .597 shot percentage.
St. Joe’s transfer Stephanie Kelly continues to make a big impact in her first season with the program. She had 2 goals and 2 assists in the win over Hopkins to add to her team lead of 44 points this season. Her 28 assists is tops in the Big Ten and is third most nationally.
A major contributor in the win over Johns Hopkins was sophomore Ashley Moynahan, who came off the bench to score a goal late in the game, as well as adding three caused turnovers, three draw controls and two ground balls.
Junior Meghan Ball, who had five ground balls and three caused turnovers in the win over Hopkins, added one draw control to bring her to 148 in her career. She is second all-time in program history in draw controls for her career and is fourth in the Big Ten in averaging 5.3 per game.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sophia Cardello made nine saves in her eighth of the season in the net this past Saturday.
Rutgers will host No. 13 Michigan on Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m. ET at SHI Stadium. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network. It’s a huge game for both teams and the Wolverines who are 9-2 this season and also 1-1 in Big Ten play. They just lost to No. 4 Northwestern 12-9 last weekend and previously beat Johns Hopkins 9-7.
Michigan has the top scoring defense in the Big Ten and second nationally in allowing just 7.7 goals per game. Goalkeeper Arielle Weissman leads the country with a 7.16 goals against average and leads the Big Ten with a .553 save percentage. Rutgers is 10th nationally in allowing 9.2 goals per game. On offense, the Scarlet Knights are 24th nationally in averaging 14.7 goals per game while Michigan is 39th with a 13.6 goals per contest. It’s a pivotal contest that will go a long way in determining the Big Ten standings this season.
If you are interested in attending Thursday’s game, “admission to all 2022 home games is free. Parking for 2022 women’s lacrosse home games is also free, but visitors must register their vehicle with the University through this link. Visitors only need to register their vehicle once for the entire season. Parking for 2022 home games is in the Scarlet Lot outside the West entrance of SHI Stadium.”