November 17, 2018 | ° F

No. 16 Rutgers defeats Drexel to start season 5-0

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

The Rutgers women’s soccer team continued its early season dominance with a 2-0 win over Drexel, Sunday afternoon at Yurcak Field — its fifth shutout in as many games.

The No. 16 Scarlet Knights (5-0) have now outscored their opponents 18-0 and have been steadily climbing the Division I rankings.

“We take a lot of pride in keeping the ball and through keeping the ball we create chances,” said head coach Mike O’Neill. “We defend as one. We focus on doing the small things really well and we are pretty strong from front to back.”

After 36 minutes of scoreless soccer, sophomore forward Brittany LaPlant opened the scoring with a one-time shot off a short cross that found the back of the net — her second goal of the season. Senior Colby Ciarrocca added a goal of her own three minutes into the second half to make it 2-0. Senior midfielder Christy Monroy, sophomore forward Carina Hendley and junior defender Kenie Wright were credited with the assists.

But the star of the game — as it has been all season — was the defense. Going into Sunday’s match, the Knights had yet to let in a goal and Sunday proved to be no different. The Rutgers defense stymied the Dragons (3-3) all day as they could only get five shots off — none of them on goal — making redshirt junior goalkeeper Casey Murphy’s 34th shutout of her career a breeze. With that shutout, Murphy moved into a tie for second place on the Knights all-time list.

“Five straight shutouts is huge for the defense because our motto has always been no shots, no services, no goals,” Wright said. “We want to try and beat the shutout record so right now we are on the right path. Starting with five straight shutouts gives us a lot of confidence going into this weekend and conference play.”

Rutgers also outpaced Drexel in shots, shots-on-goal and corners — ultimately proving to be too much for the Dragons.

During this five-game homestand, the Knights also had shutout wins over Loyola Marymount University, Monmouth, Mount Saint Mary’s and then-No. 21 Connecticut.

"It is the small things that we do in training that we bring into the match," O’Neill said. "We talk about being 28 strong and when you have players that maybe didn't perform to the level they have in the previous matches, other players step in and pick them up. The depth of the team is important.”

The depth has shown so far as 14 of the 18 goals scored have come from underclassmen. Rutgers will now travel to Fairfax, Virginia to take on George Mason for a Friday night game and try to keep the good times rolling.

“It was very important to go 5-0 at home this past month because as a program we take pride in going undefeated at home,” Wright said. “It also gives our team great momentum starting Big Ten play in two weeks.”

For updates on the Rutgers women's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Robert Sanchez

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