Rutgers women’s lacrosse (15-4) has earned its second consecutive NCAA Tournament bid and will face St. Joseph’s (14-6) in the First Round . The Hawks won the Atlantic-10 Tournament Championship and have won seven of their last eight games. The game will be played at Stony Brook on Friday, May 13 at 2:30 p.m. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of Stony Brook-Drexel.
The No. 13 ranked Scarlet Knights have already won a program record 15 victories this season and earned its highest ranked win ever on Friday with a 13-5 win over No. 4 Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament. Their resume includes a No. 7 RPI ranking and five wins over ranked foes.
Earlier Sunday, RU led No. 3 Maryland 7-5 in the second quarter of the Big Ten Championship. However, the Terps tied it up heading into halftime and dominated the second half, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 11-1. Despite the disappointing loss, it was the first conference tournament final appearance for Rutgers since 1998 and just the second ever in program history.
Head coach Melissa Lehman has now led the Scarlet Knights to back to back NCAA Tournaments for the first time and they’ll be making their third appearance in program history. Rutgers won its first ever NCAA Tournament game last season with a 16-13 upset win over No. 10 Drexel before falling in the second round to No. 6 Stony Brook 20-8.
Rutgers finished the regular season ranked 18th nationally in scoring defense in allowing just 10.0 goals per game and 30th in scoring offense in averaging 14.1 goals per game.
Led by Cassidy Spilis (First Team All-Big Ten), who set the program’s single season scoring record with 65 goals and Taralyn Naslonski (First Team All-Big Ten), who leads the team with 79 points and is the program’s all-time points leader. In addition, Stephanie Kelly (Second Team All-Big Ten) set the program’s single-season record with 39 assists and Marin Hartshorn had a strong season with 50 points (33 goals, 17 assists). The defense is led by Meghan Ball (First Team All-Big Ten), Jessica Beneducci (Second Team All-Big Ten) and goalkeeper Sophia Cardello.
We’ll have a full preview ahead of Friday’s First Round game as well as coaches and players from both men’s and women’s lacrosse on this week’s podcast episode. The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team (13-3) earned the No. 6 seed in their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and will host Harvard (8-4) on Saturday, May 14.