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                                       Photo by Taylor Jackson

(ISN) – PISCATAWAY, N.J.- Senior captain Allison Stathius’ (Delran, N.J./Delran) unassisted goal with 17 seconds left in double overtime lifted Monmouth University’s (3-0) women’s lacrosse team over in-state rival Rutgers (1-2) by a score of 13-12 on Wednesday night at High Point Solutions Stadium.

“This win showed our team what we are capable of,” said Head Coach Denise Wescott. “In the first half I thought we sat back and played scared. After halftime we came out and started to believe in ourselves, we pressured them more, we earned more draws and settled in offensively. I was really proud of them. It showed me that they are fighters.”

Monmouth overcame a 10-4 halftime deficit, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 7-1 in the second half, including tying the game with six seconds left on sophomore Claudia LaMarca’s (West Long Branch, N.J./Shore Regional) sixth goal of the game.

It took the Hawks 35 seconds of the first overtime to take a 12-11 lead on junior Marial Pierce’s (Middleburg, Va./St. John’s Catholic Prep) second goal of the game. The teams traded possessions over the next few minutes but it was Rutgers’ leading scoring Halley Barnes who netted the equalizer with just two seconds remaining to force a second overtime period.

It was Barnes who would have an excellent scoring opportunity with 40 seconds remaining but her free position attempt was turned away from Monmouth goaltender Caroline Huelster (Mt. Laurel, N.J./Lenape). The Hawks got the ball up the field quickly and it was Stathius who secured a one-on-one with Rutgers’ Candice Dandridge, beating the goalie on the upper left portion of the cage.

“I thought maybe Caroline she would spark us coming out of halftime, she has high energy in the cage,” said Wescott. “She pushed our defenders out a little bit more and we were able to stop them from scoring. I always want Ally to touch the ball, she’s one of our best players when she believes in herself and goes hard, she can do anything. When the ball came out of the defensive zone so quick, I thought we had a chance to get a quick look at it in the end. She dodged two defenders there at the end and went as hard as she could to the cage and got a good look.”

Monmouth, who defeats both Rutgers and a Big 10 opponent for the first time in school history, is now 3-0 for the first time since the 2000 season. LaMarca’s six goals is a career high, while Huelster made three saves and had three ground balls. Junior Michelle Gonzales (Marlton, N.J./Lenape) had four assists while Stathius and LaMarca each had goals.

The Blue & White held a 37-27 advantage in shots, including a 20-4 margin in the second half as they overcame a six-goal deficit. Monmouth had 17 of the 28 draw controls, including all six in the overtime period.

Rutgers struck first of an early turnover, going up 1-0 on an Amanda Turturro goal with 28:12 showing on the clock. The Hawks tied it up three minutes later when Claudia LaMarca (West Long Branch, N.J./Shore Regional) scooped up a rebound and beat Rutgers goalie Candice Dandridge. Monmouth took the lead at the 21:06 mark when Gonzales found LaMarca streaking across the crease for the sophomore’s second goal of the game.

The Scarlet Knights responded with a 4-0 run over the next 10 minutes with three of the goals coming as a direct result of Hawk turnovers. Monmouth responded with 10:14 remaining on a Carly Sane (Clifton, Va./Centreville) goal that sliced the lead to 5-3. Rutgers responded in the 23rd minute with a Kim Kolodny free position goal and the RU lead grew to 6-3. Two quick goals gave the Scarlet Knights an 8-3 lead before Monmouth answered on an Emily Barbieri (Parsippany, N.J./DePaul Catholic) goal with 3:26 to play. RU tallied a pair of unanswered goals to end the half up 10-4.

Trailing by six goals at the start of the second frame, Monmouth scored three unanswered markers in the first 7:35 to climb to within 10-7. On the second goal of the half, LaMarca and Gonzales hooked up again for Monmouth’s sixth goal before the sophomore midfielder took a pass on a fast break from Barbieri to cut the deficit back to 10-7 with 23:25 remaining in regulation. Allison Stathius converted a free position attempt and the Hawks trailed by two with just over 19 minutes remaining.

Rutgers stopped the bleeding with a Hallie Barnes goal with 12:47 remaining on a man-up opportunity before Pierce answered with 4:07 remaining as Rutgers led 11-9. LaMarca got the Hawks within one with 3:42 remaining after a fast break goal off a Monmouth timeout. With six seconds left, LaMarca recorded her sixth goal of the game to send the game into overtime.

Barnes led the Scarlet Knights with five goals while Sbrilli, Turturro and Kolodny each scoring twice. Dandridge had 11 saves, including three in the overtime periods, and four ground balls in the loss.

Monmouth will face Towson University on Saturday at 12 PM at Monmouth Stadium.

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