PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 28, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team (6-4, 0-0 BIG EAST) takes on the Wildcats of Villanova (4-4, 0-0 BIG EAST) on Saturday, March 29 Villanova, Pa., for the squad’s third-straight road match and the BIG EAST Conference opener for both teams. RU looks to extend its three-game winning streak, as the Scarlet Knights most recently took down Hofstra, 11-10, on Wednesday, March 26 in Hempstead, N.Y.
Redshirt junior Lauren Sbrilli (Martinsville, N.J.), leads the RU attack, as the midfielder has notched back-to-back hat tricks and three-straight multi-goal games to pace the Scarlet Knights during their current win streak. On the season, Sbrilli has recorded a team-leading 19 points on a team-best 16 goals.
After trailing 2-1 early on against the Pride, the Scarlet Knights netted three-straight goals to take a 4-2 advantage midway through the opening half. RU managed to preserve at least a one-score lead, until Hofstra scored back-to-back goals half-way through the second stanza to even the game at 9-9. Rutgers regained the advantage two minutes later, but again Hofstra battled back to knot the score at 10-10.
With 4:29 on the clock however, senior attacker Katrina Martinelli (Moorestown, N.J.) tallied what proved to be the game-winner, while the RU defense held off the Pride’s attack for the remaining minutes of play.
Rutgers looks to improve to a perfect 22-0 against the Wildcats on Saturday. The teams first met in the 1978 season, with Rutgers coming out on top, 8-0, in Piscataway. Last season, the teams met in BIG EAST action “On the Banks.”
RU downed the visiting Wildcats, 9-6, led by three points from Martinelli (2G, 1A). After trading goals to start the half, the Rutgers defense held Villanova without a goal for 16:42, while the Scarlet Knight offense posted a three-goal spurt. RU entered the half-time break with a 5-2 advantage. Villanova would not get closer than three scores for the remainder of the contest.
The Wildcats enter Saturday’s contest after most recently dropping a 17-8 decision to No. 6 Notre Dame on March 23. The Wildcats have lost three of their last four games, with the squad’s lone win coming against Davidson on March 16 (W, 8-6). The Fighting Irish took a 2-0 advantage to start the game, but the Wildcats tied it at two with goals from sophomore midfielder Chelsey Henderson and freshman defender Mariah Salerno. Notre Dame tallied the next six goals to take an 8-2 lead and never looked back en route to the nine-score win.
Six different Wildcats have double-figure point totals on the season, led by Chelsea Henderson’s 19 points. Kelsey Denihan and Meghan Breen, who have 16 and 18 points respectively, have each netted 14 goals through the first eight games.
The Wildcats are among the conference leaders in several statistical categories this season including assists (1st- 5.00/g), points (T-2nd- 14.88/g), caused turnovers (2nd- 8.75/g), ground balls (third-17.12/g), goals against average (3rd- 9.38/g) and save percentage (3rd- .375).
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