No. 20 Rutgers upset No. 12 Stanford over weekend
All season long, the Rutgers field hockey team looked like it was on the verge of earning a marquee win for the program. And this past weekend, it finally got one.
After losing to No. 4 Michigan (10-2, 5-0) on Friday, the No. 20 Scarlet Knights (8-5, 2-2) bounced back to triumph over No. 12 Stanford (7-4, 4-0) in overtime on Saturday. It was the highest ranked opponent that they have ever beaten in program history and along with wins over then-No. 23 Old Dominion and then-No. 19 Iowa, they now have three wins over ranked opponents this season after previously having just three all time.
Head coach Meredith Civico was ecstatic about the win, going as far as saying that it was her proudest moment as a coach.
Freshman midfielder Daphne Groothuis, who scored the winning goal on Saturday, highlighted the significance of the win for the season.
“We’ve been practicing so hard, and coming from where we were in the beginning to beating a top 12 team is amazing,” she said. “All the work we’ve been putting in, practicing during school, it’s crazy, and all the effort finally paid off.”
With the victory over the Cardinal on Saturday, Rutgers rebounded from its largest defeat of the season in a big way. The Knights trailed for most of the first half after Marissa Cicione scored in the fifth minute, but Linde van Schaik evened the score 26 minutes later.
The second half saw both teams with chances to take the lead, particularly Rutgers in the final minutes, but neither side could break through. Thus, the game went to overtime — the Knights’ first in over a year. And 11 minutes in, Groothuis converted off a penalty corner to clinch the victory.
While Groothuis was overcome with emotion after the goal — Civico said she even collapsed on the field — she was quick to credit her teammates.
“The feeling was awesome,” Groothuis said. “Winning in overtime against a top 12 team is incredible. But it was a total team effort. We did it with every single person on a set play. It was awesome that I was the one who scored the goal, but if someone else scored I would have been just as happy.”
The win was also impressive because they were coming off a loss in which they allowed a season-high 5 goals while scoring none. Michigan outshot them 24-0 — 16 of which were on goal — and earned 10 penalty corners to Rutgers’ zero.
The game wasn’t always out of reach though, as freshman goalkeeper Gianna Glatz kept the Wolverines at bay by making four saves in the first 10 minutes. But Michigan eventually broke through with a goal in the 19th minute, and added another in the 32nd, taking a 2-0 lead into intermission. Glatz ended the half with nine saves, which was a career high.
The Wolverines came out of the break by scoring twice in the first three and a half minutes and then added their fifth goal 15 minutes later.
Civico said that the Knights didn’t play with heart like they could have, and afterward they watched the video of the game to see what they could have done better.
“We watched the whole game at night and discussed what Michigan did well and what we need to improve,” Groothuis said. “And I think that helped us let go of the game and move on to Stanford. We did a really good job of getting back and being there on Saturday.”
It was a tale of two games for Rutgers. During the first, it was outclassed by a better opponent. But during the second, it pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in program history.
Rutgers will play at Michigan State this Friday before returning home to play against Ohio State on Sunday.
“We were not the same team against Michigan and Stanford,” Groothuis said. “And if we play like we did against Stanford, we’re going to win a lot more games.”
For updates on the Rutgers field hockey team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.