RU responds with weekend sweep
After dropping its first decision to Monmouth and falling seven spots in the NSCAA poll, the No. 24 Rutgers women's soccer team provided itself with the perfect antidote to its recent sluggishness. The Scarlet Knights (4-1) went a perfect 2-0 on the weekend that featured another intra-state foe and their first road trip of the year.
The Knights blanked visiting Princeton, 2-0, to cap off a four-game homestand to begin the 2010 season. Redshirt freshman Jonelle Filigno, stifled in a two-match goalless drought entering the game, earned her first career game-winner with a tally in the 14th minute.
"Our goal this game was to just to come in and be more disciplined and focus on defending," Filigno said. "And then from there, working on getting forward, and that's exactly what we did. We got goals from it, so I think discipline was the most important part."
The Mississauga, Canada, native beat two Tiger defenders and lobbed a shot past the outstretched hands of Princeton goalkeeper Alyssa Pont. Junior midfielder Karla Schacher notched her first goal of the season in the 58th minute off of a cross by classmate Tricia DiPaolo, who earned her first career assist.
Schacher's goal marked the second time in as many years that the Knights put up two scores against Pont. Rutgers is the only team to score against her twice in a game over the past two seasons. The two-time All-Ivy League selection faced nine shots on the night to Rutgers' sophomore Emmy Simpkins' six.
Simpkins came out of the gates much more assertive against Princeton, lining up her defenders and making two key saves within 15 seconds of each other. The shutout was her second of the season. Simpkins' performance was a far cry from the Monmouth loss, in which the sophomore was caught in between on the Hawks' lone goal.
"Everyone's holding each other accountable, and I think that was our biggest problem in the Monmouth game," Simpkins said. "When the team's playing like a team, I feel more confident. I feel great, and it makes me feel good to see such good soccer."
The victory moved the Knights to 14-8-3 all-time against Princeton — its most wins over any one opponent in program history.
Head coach Glenn Crooks' team, however, played Bucknell only three times prior to Sunday's matchup in Lewisburg, Pa. In their first road test of the season, the Knights put together an offensive flurry, outshooting the Bison, 28-9, in a 3-0 blanking.
The shutout was Simpkins' second in a row and third overall. The sophomore only needed to make three saves on the day, as the Rutgers defense contained Bison forward Christa Matlack, the Patriot League's Preseason Player of the Year.
"The communication with [Simpkins'] backs, the organization of things, the more we train together also, the better it gets," Crooks said. "[Simpkins] is looking more and more comfortable. That's still a work in progress."
Matlack was held without a shot and had three fouls in a disappointing effort by the home team.
Crooks continued to put a concerted effort into monitoring minutes, as 21 players saw the pitch and 18 played more than 10 minutes of action. On the day, 12 Knights collected fouls, with seniors Ashley Medcalf and Gina DeMaio tied with three apiece.
Senior forward Ashley Jones scored her first goal of the season in the 66th minute — her first since Sept. 20, 2009. The Knights' leading scorer last season, Jones once again started Sunday's game on the bench before seeing action in the 25th minute. Sophomore April Price assisted on the goal, pushing her team-high point total to five.