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No. 9 Rutgers women’s lacrosse takes down Monmouth in strong defensive performance

Senior defender Meghan Ball continues to be an asset for the Rutgers women's lacrosse team on the back end of the field as she caused seven turnovers against Monmouth yesterday. – Photo by @rutgers_lax / Twitter

The Rutgers women’s lacrosse team continued its undefeated start to the season with an 11-5 win over Monmouth yesterday. The No. 9 Scarlet Knights (2-0, 0-0) displayed a strong defensive performance by preventing the Hawks (1-1, 0-0) from scoring in the second half.

With 6 minutes left to play in the first quarter, Danielle McNeely scored the first goal of the game for Monmouth. Seconds later, senior midfielder Cassidy Spilis tied the game with an assist from senior attacker Jenna Byrne. The Hawks would net a second goal to take a 2-1 lead heading into the end of the first quarter. 

The second quarter would be a high scoring one. In its opening 2 minutes, Monmouth netted a third goal from Maddie Murphy. Rutgers fought back and leveled the game with 7 minutes to play in the quarter, courtesy of goals from graduate student attacker Marin Hartshorn and junior midfielder Ashley Moynahan.

The Hawks retook the lead 22 seconds later, but Spilis added her second goal of the game to knot things up at 4 goals apiece. With just more than two minutes remaining in the quarter, Monmouth scored again to take a 5-4 lead. That score would remain the same heading into halftime. 

The Knights started the third quarter on the front foot with back-to-back goals to take the lead for the first time in the match. Freshman midfielder and attacker Lily Dixon scored her first collegiate goal and Spilis netted two more goals to put Rutgers in front 7-5. Senior midfielder Ashley Campo added the Knights' 8th goal of the game to extend their lead to 3 goals to end the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was completely dominated by Rutgers, with Hartshorn and Campo both scoring their second goals of the game and senior attacker Janey Galksi netting the 11th and final goal of the game to seal the win. 

The Knights played strong defense in the win. Rutgers did not allow the Hawks to score a goal in the third and fourth quarters. Multiple Knights players causing turnovers for the Hawks.

Senior defender Meghan Ball, who was named Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, led the backline with four ground balls and seven caused turnovers. 

Spilis' 4 goals extended her career total to 150, making her the fourth Rutgers player in program history to exceed the 150 mark. 

The Knights will look to continue their winning streak in their home opener at 1 p.m. on Saturday against Georgetown at SHI Stadium.

"Our defense was focused all game, but really clamped down in the second half," said head coach Melissa Lehman. "We knew they had talented cutters and they were good off-ball, so we focused on that, and we forced them into turnovers to give us possessions."

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

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