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Rutgers women's lacrosse wraps up historic season with several awards

Graduate student attacker Taralyn Naslonski has etched her name into the record books of the Rutgers women's lacrosse team, becoming the program's all-time leading goal and point scorer. – Photo by Rutgers Women's Lacrosse / Twitter

The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team finished its historic season with a second-round exit from the NCAA Tournament. The No. 11 Scarlet Knights (16-5, 4-2) lost to eighth-seed Stony Brook, No. 7 in the country.

Rutgers’ match against the Seawolves (16-3, 6-0) started off strong with a 4-3 lead by the end of the first quarter. Graduate student attacker Taralyn Naslonski assisted 2 of the goals and scored 1, while senior attacker Marin Hartshorn scored a goal and added her own assist. 

The second quarter then saw a swift turnaround from Stony Brook as the team scored 4 goals before the Knights could respond. The only Rutgers scoring contribution before the half came from an assist from junior midfielder Ashley Campo to Hartshorn, who bagged her 2nd goal of the game. The Knights went into halftime down 7-5.

Less than 3 minutes into the third quarter, Rutgers had tied the game at 7. But, its comeback was thwarted by a 4-0 Seawolves run in the final 25 minutes of play. The Knights would not score for the remainder of the game and would fall 11-7.

"One loss does not define your season,” said head coach Melissa Lehman after the loss. “As the head coach of this program, I could not be prouder. We made an impact on the history book in so many ways, and this team believed they could achieve so much."

Lehman and Rutgers have the facts to support her claim. The 2022 NCAA Tournament was the program’s second consecutive tournament appearance and second consecutive win.

The Knights also set program records in wins and ranked wins while reaching the Big Ten Tournament final. Lehman was also named Big Ten Coach of the Year, her first conference coach honor since taking over the program before the 2019-20 season.

Departing the program will be Naslonski, who finishes her career on the Banks as the all-time leading point and goal scorer. She also set a single-season record with 90 points, passing Denise Reed’s 1990 season. 

In addition to Naslonski, junior defender Meghan Ball surpassed Robin Erthal’s 1998 season with a single-season record of 54 caused turnovers. 

Meanwhile, Naslonski, Ball, Hartshorn and junior midfielder Cassidy Spilis were named All-Americans by ILWomen. Spilis was also named Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten, both unanimously.

"This team believes and plays with passion," Lehman said after Rutgers’ first-round win against Saint Joseph’s. "We just bleed Rutgers pride. That's how hard we play every time we're out on the field.”

The Knights had a historic season on offense, on defense and in their staff. With few departing seniors and graduate students, the program will hope to have a similar spring come the 2023 season.

For more updates on the Rutgers women's lacrosse game, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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