Schacher delivers lightning in rainy contest
In a match being played in down-pouring rain, in temperatures teetering around freezing, the Rutgers women's soccer team knew one goal might be all they needed.
Senior forward Karla Schacher got that job done in the 59th minute, and freshman forward April Price's insurance goal in the 78th minute sent the Scarlet Knights cruising to a 2-0 win over Big East rival Syracuse.
The match was the Knights' (10-2-3, 4-1-2) first game and win without head coach Glenn Crooks this decade. Crooks — in his 10th year as head coach at RU — was suspended from the game for what was described as a "violation of athletic department policy."
"We were prepared," said associate head coach Mike O'Neill, who filled in for Crooks as the team's head coach. "We've been prepared, and we have a lot of faith in our team. A sign of being a good head coach is when a team can get it done when you're not there, and that's what happened today. It was business as usual."
Schacher's goal came off the rebound of a shot by redshirt freshman forward Stefanee Pace. Schacher took possession of the ball just outside the six-yard box and — with Syracuse goaltender Elizabeth Bennett-Hattan out of position — sent it into an open left half of the net.
Price capitalized later on a breakaway goal in which she beat Bennett-Hattan with a bullet into the top right corner of the net.
"I thought the conditions out there were very bad," Schacher said. "So I thought one goal might be enough. I kind of figured that whoever scored first was probably going to win the game."
RU's two goals were the culmination of near nonstop pressure from the Knights throughout the match.
In their first full game since losing top scorer Ashley Jones to a displaced tibia and fibula, the Knights' offense looked sharp as players. Redshirt sophomore Tricia DiPaolo and Pace saw their minutes increase in Jones' absence.
"I think everyone has to step up now," Schacher said. "I definitely think that I need to score more goals and get a little bit more shots in. But I think everyone is just stepping up.'
The Knights' failure to score a goal before the 59th minute had far more to do with the play of Bennett-Hattan than it did with RU's failure to generate an attack.
Bennett-Hattan saved six shots on the night.
"She was a good goalkeeper," O'Neill said "Technically and tactically, she was very good. She anticipated the game very well, and she did some good things against us."
On the other side of the pitch, the Knights only allowed six shots in the game, with most coming in the game's final minutes.
The Knights did not allow Syracuse (8-6-2, 3-4) to take a shot until the 41st minute of the match, and senior goalkeeper Erin Guthrie only had to save one shot in her 41st shutout in a Rutgers uniform.