PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 29, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team capped off its final campaign in the BIG EAST accomplishing numerous feats, highlighted by claiming a berth to its first postseason since the 2008 season.
Rutgers concluded the season with a 9-9 overall record. RU called High Point Solutions Stadium home for the first time in program history in 2014, playing all but four of its 10 home contests at the 52,454-seat facility.
On the year, Rutgers faced off against six total ranked opponents. Six of RU’s nine wins came down to the wire, as it edged out its opponents by a single goal each time: Fairfield, 6-5, Delaware, 8-7, JMU, 8-7, Cornell, 10-9, Hofstra, 11-10 and Temple, 11-10.
Rutgers earned its first win over a nationally ranked foe on March 15, downing No. 20 James Madison (Brine Women’s Media Poll) at home. The Scarlet Knights held JMU to a season-low seven goals, which had entered the contest averaging 11.67 goals per game.
After battling through a difficult nonconference schedule that featured five ranked opponents in its first eight matchups, RU was able to secure the fourth seed to the league tournament.
In its final regular season game of the year on April 25, Rutgers defeated Temple at High Point Solutions Stadium to force a three-way tie for fourth. RU, Temple and Villanova all concluded league play with a 3-4 mark, however, due to RU’s win over the Owls, and UConn’s victory over Villanova in the last day of the regular season, the Scarlet Knights claimed the final spot by virtue of goal differential.
RU fell to eventual league champion, top-seeded Louisville in the BIG EAST Semifinals on May 1 at Georgetown’s Multi-Sport Field. Senior attacker Megan Clements (Pennington, N.J.) tallied a team-high three points in the loss, scoring a goal and assisting on two others to earn all-tournament team recognition.
Clements was also named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team, while senior defender Chelsea Intrabartola (Commack, N.Y.) and redshirt junior midfielder Lauren Sbrilli (Martinsville, N.J.) were named to the first team.
The two First Team All-BIG EAST selections were the most for Rutgers since the 2007 campaign, when Katie Batiuk and Nina Frankoski were also first team honorees. Additionally, the three Scarlet Knight all-conference selections marked the most for RU since 2008.
Intrabartola and Sbrilli were also named to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Mid Atlantic Second Team. Through 12 seasons at the helm of the program, head coach Laura Brand-Sias has now mentored 33 all-region selections, as well as 33 All-BIG EAST honorees.
Sbrilli and Clements finished the season as two of RU’s primary threats on the offensive end, leading the way in several statistical categories. Sbrilli was the Scarlet Knights’ team leader in points (37) and goals (30), while Clements finished second in both categories, recording 33 and 26, respectively. Additionally, Clements tied for the team-lead with 30 draw controls.
Clements finished her career sixth all-time in career draw controls with 94. Junior midfielder Jenny Vlahos (Manhasset, N.Y.) also etched her name in the RU record books, currently ranking eighth-all time with 78 draw controls. Vlahos tied with Clements for the team lead in the category this season.
Redshirt sophomore Kristin Kocher (Medford, N.J.) was also extremely productive for RU on the offensive end in 2014. The midfielder ranked third in the squad in both points (25) and goals (19) and totaled four multi-goal games. Kocher shined in early April, recording back-to-back four-goal games during BIG EAST play against UConn (April 5) and Marquette (April 11). Following the game against the Huskies, Kocher was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll.
Sbrilli was also named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on three occasions this season. In total, RU racked up nine weekly league awards on the year. Sbrilli and redshirt freshman goalkeeper Amanda Currell (Moorestown, N.J.) tied for the team-lead in weekly recognitions, recording three apiece. Currell was twice named the league’s Defensive Player of the Week and also earned a nod to the honor roll.
For the season, Currell finished with a team-best 112 saves en route to earning six wins in the cage. The netminder had a career day in Rutgers’ win over Delaware on March 1, finishing with 13 saves and a team-high eight ground balls. Her 13 stops were the most by a Scarlet Knight since April 1, 2012, while her eight ground balls were the most by an RU player since April 23, 2007.
The campaign marked the Scarlet Knights’ last year in the BIG EAST, as Rutgers will join the Big Ten on July 1 and help form the conference’s inaugural season of women's lacrosse. RU joins Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State and Penn State in forming one of, if not, the premier lacrosse conference in the NCAA. Big Ten women’s lacrosse will feature teams that have won 24 national championships and 20 of the 33 NCAA championships, including nine of the last 10.
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