The Rutgers women's lacrosse team defeated Ohio State 19-13 in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament this afternoon. The victory is the second Big Ten Tournament win in the the No. 4 Scarlet Knights' (6-7, 5-7) history, both of which came against the Buckeyes (4-9, 4-8).
Sophomore midfielder Cassidy Spilis netted an early goal to tie the game up at 1 apiece within the first 3 minutes of play. Approximately 2 minutes later, sophomore attacker Jenna Byrne found senior attacker Hannah Hollingsworth in front of the net to tie the game at 2. The assist was 1 of 6 points for Hollingsworth, who totaled 3 goals and three assists.
In the first half, it seemed like neither team was backing down. As soon as Ohio State scored, Rutgers would follow up with a goal of its own. It was not until the 23-minute mark that the Knights started to pull away.
With roughly 7 minutes left to play, junior attacker Marin Hartshorn notched her second goal of the half to put Rutgers in front 6-5. Following the Hartshorn goal, the Knights marched down the field again as Hollingsworth netted her second of the half to give the team a 2-goal cushion.
As the first half wound down, redshirt freshman midfielder/attacker Grace Curran found Hollingsworth, completing Hollingsworth's hat trick. Although Rutgers took a commanding lead over the Buckeyes, Ohio State netted 2 consecutive goals before the end of the half to tie the game up at 8.
When the second half got underway, senior attacker Taralyn Naslonski put a spin move on a Buckeyes defender to put the Knights up 1. After Naslonski’s goal, Rutgers started to peel away again. Led by Byrne and Spilis, the Knights went up 11-9. The goals were 1 of 3 for Byrne and 1 of 4 for Spilis.
Although four Rutgers players scored more than 2 goals today, without freshman goalkeeper Sophia Cardello, the Knights would not be moving onto the semifinals round of the tournament.
Rutgers will take on No. 1 Northwestern under the lights tomorrow night. The Wildcats (11-0, 11-0) finished this year’s season undefeated for the third time in the program’s history. In the other two seasons, Northwestern won the NCAA championship. Riding a three-game win streak, the Knights are red hot and looking to defeat the Wildcats in the semifinals.
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