No. 11 Women’s Lacrosse Downs No. 23 Saint Joseph’s to Advance in 2022 NCAA Tournament

STONY BROOK, NY – No. 11 Rutgers women’s lacrosse (16-4) defeated No. 23 Saint Joseph’s (14-7), 17-10, in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament on Friday night in Stony Brook, New York. The Scarlet Knights used an eight-goal first quarter – tying for the most goals in a single quarter this season – to pull away from the Hawks at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

UK faces No. 8 seeded Stony Brook – who defeated Drexel 16-4 on Friday and owns a No. 7 ranking in the latest IWLCA Coaches Poll – in the second round on Sunday at noon ET with a chance to advance to its first Elite Eight in school history. With its win over the Hawks, Rutgers has now produced NCAA Tournament wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time after qualifying once for the postseason in the previous 44 seasons.

“We spoke today about starting strong and finishing strong,” said head coach Melissa Lehman. “I was so proud of the way our team performed from start to finish. There was no question that when we came out, this team was on a mission.”

Seven Scarlet Knights produced multiple points, as a graduate student Taralyn Naslonski tallied a game-high six points on four goals and two assists, senior Marin Hartshorn dished out a game-high four assists and junior Jenna Byrne scored twice and contributed two helpers. After entering the game with three goals on the season, junior Janey Galski added a career-high four goals. Junior Cassidy Spilis (2), and sophomores Kate Carolonza (3) and Ashley Moynahan (2) also contributed multiple goals in the win.

Junior Meghan Ball continued to demonstrate why she is one of the top defenders in the country with game-highs in draw controls (10), caused turnovers (5) and ground balls (5). Hartshorn caused two turnovers and a junior Jessica Beneducci scooped two ground balls. Sophomore Sophia Cardello – a Long Island native – stopped six shots for her 14th win of the season.

Rutgers exploded off the first draw with eight goals in the first 15 minutes of play. Spilis netted the first goal of the game off a pass from Naslonski, and goals from Carolonza and Spilis followed before SJU registered its first score of the night to make it 3-1 Rutgers with 7:51 to go in the quarter.

RU responded with five goals before the first quarter expired. Naslonski and Moynahan both contributed two goals apiece during the run, while Carolonza’s second of the night made it 8-1 heading into the second quarter. Rutgers’ eight goals matched its season high for a quarter, which it registered on Feb. 26 in the first quarter against Lehigh.

“We just played our game,” Naslonski said. “We wanted to come out with a fire under us and do what we do best. We were able to play Rutgers lacrosse right out the gate.”

Saint Joseph’s settled down to open the second quarter with back-to-back goals before Naslonski stopped the quick run on a short-handed opportunity with 9:54 to go before the half. RU and the Hawks traded goals down the stretch before the break, with Galski’s second goal of the quarter providing the Scarlet Knights with a 12-6 lead heading into the locker room.

The Hawks did not give up in the second half, as they allowed only two goals in the second quarter and got to within 14-10 with 12 minutes to play. However, Rutgers closed the game on a 3-0 scoring run thanks to Galski, who put an exclamation point on the victory with a finish off a pass form Hartshorn for her fourth of the night and a 17-10 lead with just over two minutes to play.

Rutgers now gets a rematch with Stony Brook, who handed RU a loss in last year’s NCAA Tournament second round. First draw is set for Sunday at noon ET. The game will stream on ESPN +. Tickets for Sunday’s game can be purchased at stonybrookathletics.com.

“This team believes and plays with passion,” Lehman said. “We just bleed Rutgers’ pride. That’s how hard we play every time we’re out on the field. It’s awesome to make history along the way, but we’re just taking in one game at a time. We have a huge opportunity ahead of us Sunday.

With The Win

  • Secured its second NCAA Tournament win in its history.
  • Advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.
  • Faces Stony Brook for the second consecutive time in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Picked up its 16th victory of the season, adding to its program record for wins in a season.
  • Delivered its sixth win over a ranked opponent, matching last season’s program record for wins over ranked foes.

Notes

  • Rutgers moved to 17-1 in the all-time series with Saint Joseph’s.
  • With her five caused turnovers tonight, junior Meghan Ball set the program single season mark with 51 on the year. She passed Robin Erthal, who had 47 during the 1998 season.
  • Graduate student Taralyn Naslonski moved past Meghan Flanagan for second all-time in assists at Rutgers with 76. She needs eight more to set the program mark for career assists with 84.
  • Naslonski tallied her 13th hat trick of the season, while sophomore Kate Carolonza added her second. Junior Janey Galski netted her first career hat trick.

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