The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team looks to the Big Ten Tournament, where the Scarlet Knights (5-7, 5-7) open the Big Ten Championships tomorrow at 2 p.m. in a matchup with Ohio State.
Listed as the No. 4 seed of the Big Ten Tournament, Rutgers has reasons to feel confident heading into this contest with the No. 5 Buckeyes (4-8, 4-8). The two teams played each other in a series at the beginning of the season, where the Knights came away with the sweep. They defeated Ohio State with scores of 12-9 and 10-9.
While Rutgers walked away with a victory in both games, the matchups were extremely close. The Knights were down in both contests and had to orchestrate two second-half comebacks for the wins. The back-to-back wins were their first over a ranked opponent since 2016.
In the series with the Buckeyes, sophomore midfielder Cassidy Spilis netted 7 goals and eight draw controls in total. Rutgers will look to her scoring prowess to help capture its first victory in the playoffs.
Spilis is not the only player on the Knights' roster who is a consistent offensive threat. She is joined by senior attacker Taralyn Naslonski, the team captain who was recognized as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on April 20. Naslonski notched 9 total points on 6 goals and three assists to help the team record its first-ever victories over now-No. 2 Maryland and now-No. 6 Penn State.
Rutgers closed its regular season ranked No.16 in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association Poll. The Knights have now been ranked nine weeks in a row under second-year head coach Melissa Lehman.
In Rutgers' series with Ohio State, the defense managed to hold the Buckeyes to just 2 goals in each of the second halves. This type of defense allowed the Knights' offense to come back in those games and take commanding leads. Freshman goalkeeper Sophia Cardello has played very well for Rutgers this season and looks to continue her success in the tournament.
This matchup between the Knights and Ohio State will be streamed on the Big Ten Network.
For updates on the Rutgers women's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.