WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- Monmouth University's women's lacrosse team (0-4) dropped an 11-8 decision at home to in-state rival Rutgers University (3-1) Saturday afternoon at Kessler Field. Monmouth held a one-goal lead early in the second half but Rutgers eventually pulled ahead to earn the victory.
The Hawks tied the game 4-4 on a Karlee Dean (Medford Lakes, N.J./Shawnee) free position goal as time expired in the first half. Junior Kaleigh Gibbons (Candia, N.H./Central/Robert Morris) gave the Hawks a 5-4 lead just forty seconds into the second half when she drilled a shot past Scarlet Knight goaltender Lily Kalata, her first of three second half goals.
Rutgers roared back with three straight goals to take a 7-5 lead, including two from junior Megan Clements. Freshman Marial Pierce (Middleburg, Va./St. John's Catholic) cut the lead to 7-6 on a feed from Gibbons with 17:46 to play. Rutgers answered with back to back goals from Clements to expand the RU lead to three. Gibbons struck again with 8:14 to play but two minutes later Rutgers answered with an Amanda Trendell goal. Gibbons and Trendell traded goals over the last 4:31 of the game and the Hawks were unable to get closer than three to Rutgers.
I think we played really well," said head coach Denise Wescott." The defense played out of their heads, especially in the first half, we shut down everything they wanted to do. The only thing that really changed was that we were unable to get the draw in the second half. That was the only thing that them more opportunity. The team played really hard today, I was proud of their effort. Our offense is finally starting to settle down, not be frantic and we used each other better to create better looks. We were moving with purpose today on offense."
The Scarlet Knights took a 3-0 lead over the first 13 minutes of the contest but Pierce registered her first tally of the game on a pass from Gibbons slash the lead to 3-1. Senior Sam Savona's (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Liberty/FDU) goal at the 13:34 mark put the Hawks back two before sophomore Allison Stathius (Delran, N.J./Delran) knotted the game at 3-3 on a free position goal. Rutgers regained the lead after Trendell's second goal of the half before Dean tied the game up as time expired.
The Scarlet Knights are now 11-0 all-time against Monmouth, however today's three point deficit marked the closest game in the series. MU netminder Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Catholic Seminary) turned away seven shots while Kalata made five saves.
The game was evenly played, with MU committing 14 turnovers to RU's 12, Rutgers holding a 11-9 edge in draw controls and Monmouth earning 16 ground balls to 13 for the Scarlet Knights. The Hawks were outshot 21-17 in the contest, including 14-6 in the second frame after leading 11-7 in shots after the first 30 minutes.
Gibbons led the Hawks with five points on three goals and two assists while Pierce finished with two goals. Trendell had four goals and an assist for five points while Clements scored four times for RU.
Monmouth's next match will be at Lafayette, starting at 7 p.m. from Fischer Stadium. The game was originally supposed to be a home game for the Hawks but was moved to Lafayette due to scheduling conflicts.