Pair of losses leaves Rutgers seeking answers
During the Rutgers women's soccer team's matchup yesterday with No. 5 Boston College, one aspect of the teams' matchup was constantly reinforced: The Golden Eagles had a plan.
Boston College bested the No. 24 Scarlet Knights, 3-1, to close out a weekend in which Rutgers (5-4, 0-1) went 0-2, with the latter coming at Yurcak Field.
Golden Eagles sophomores Victoria DiMartino and Kristie Mewis meticulously carved through the Knights' defense to the tune of 13 combined shots and two assists.
Boston College (7-0-1) outshot Rutgers head coach Glenn Crooks' squad, 26-8, on the afternoon.
"I'm going to go in there and tell them, ‘Rutgers women's soccer doesn't lose weekends,'" said Crooks, whose team is 3-3 since his return from suspension. "It's unacceptable. Boston College is very good, but as you can see, we didn't compete very well in the first half. The statistics bear that out. We did not compete in the second half."
The Golden Eagles kicked off the scoring in the 30th minute, when DiMartino — owner of eight goals on the season — found junior Stephanie Wirth in the six-yard box for the tally.
Despite being outshot, 13-1, in the first half, the Knights entered the locker room with only a one-goal deficit.
Boston College exploded out of the break, when senior Brooke Knowlton found the back of the net only four minutes into the second half. The ACC foe continued to dominate possession until a foul outside the left side of the 18 box gave Rutgers a free kick.
Junior Julie Lancos sent a shot on net that Golden Eagles goalkeeper Jill Mastroianni deflected. The ball proceeded to hit the crossbar before being cleared by the Boston College defense.
"Maybe if some of the chances that were close did go in, it could've maybe influenced the game," said Lancos, whose defense allowed three goals for the first time this season. "If it doesn't go in, it doesn't go in. When opportunities come, you just have to finish them."
The Golden Eagles capped their scoring when defender Amy Caldwell put in a rebound in the 86th minute off of a shot that hit the crossbar.
Substitute midfielder Kelsey Dumont responded four minutes later with her first goal of the season, but it was a case of too little, too late for the Knights.
"We put some things together and really had some good opportunities on goal at the end," Crooks said. "Nice play by Kelsey — she missed one earlier. Jonelle [Filigno] missed one. Julie [Lancos] hit the crossbar. But our defending on their goals was shoddy. [Boston College] hits the crossbar, they're there for the rebound. We didn't have defenders checking their players."
Crooks opted to use 10 substitutes, including two freshman, on a day in which there wasn't enough offensive continuity. Only half of Rutgers' eight shots went on goal.
"It was a good game. It was definitely a harder game than we've played," Lancos said. "We respect them a lot and they are a very good team, so it was a good challenge for us today. I think we got some good things out of it. Playing any top-10 team is a good opportunity and good challenge."
The Knights' rare two-loss weekend began Friday with a 1-0 blanking at Seton Hall.
Pirates forward Kaitlyn Ritter, the Big East's Freshman of the Week, tallied the only score in the 27th minute.
The loss in Rutgers' Big East opener moved Crooks' squad to 1-2 against New Jersey opponents this season.
"We just look at games — I don't care if they're from New Jersey or Mars — that might hurt our NCAA tournament chances," Crooks said. "We care about the NCAA's and Big East tournament. Any loss along the way, especially to a team that's lower in the RPI than you, is damaging to that."
Rutgers returns to Yurcak Field Friday for another Big East contest against No. 15 Georgetown (7-0-1, 1-0). The Hoyas defeated Villanova, 3-1, in an early-season conference matchup on Sept. 1.
The Knights travel to face 'Nova on Sunday for an afternoon showdown.
"Big East is Big East. You're going to get up for every game," Lancos said. "We might have had two losses this weekend, but by the time Friday comes around those aren't going to be in our head at all. It's going to be a new game, a new weekend."