DeMaio sets assists record in Knights' sweep
Room atop the Rutgers women's soccer scoring leaderboard got pretty thin yesterday, when the Scarlet Knights romped over Providence, 4-1, at Yurcak Field.
"We played very well in both halves," said head coach Glenn Crooks. "We just had to review what was going well and shore up a couple things. It was certainly the best back-to-back games we've had all year."
The Knights (8-5, 3-2) exploded for four second-half goals against the Friars (8-3-1, 2-2-1) after a scoreless first, sparked by junior Karla Schacher's 54th-minute tally. Senior midfielder Gina DeMaio hit the post on a cross, but Schacher was there for the rebound.
Redshirt freshman Jonelle Filigno scored less than four minutes later on a freak play.
The Mississauga, Canada, native took a point blank shot that Friars goalkeeper Caitlin Walker initially saved.
The ball then deflected off a Providence defender attempting to clear, but Filigno got the last touch before the ball found the back of the net.
The goal was Filigno's first since a 3-0 win Sept. 5 at Bucknell.
"Before every game I just sort of shake it off. I want to start anew every game," said Filigno, who registered seven shots yesterday in the victory. "It's been really frustrating since [Bucknell] because I've had so many opportunities and nothing has been going in. It wasn't a great goal, but I'm happy I got one in."
With the lead well in hand, DeMaio sent a corner kick in the 72nd minute into the box. The ball found sophomore April Price's head, who buried the ball in the back of the net.
The match's first three goals knotted Schacher, Filigno and Price at four goals on the season, forcing a three-way tie for the Knights' scoring lead.
The tally also distinguished DeMaio as Rutgers' all-time assists leader with 28. Jennifer Gibbons (1989-92) previously held the assists record.
"Even as a team we kind of broke out this weekend," DeMaio said. "We're kind of hitting the right stride at the right time, so it's been good."
Senior Ashley Jones capped off the Knights' scoring in the 80th minute, when she launched a shot outside the 18-yard box that bent in under the top right post.
With the lead unquestioned, Crooks unloaded his bench as 27 Knights saw action in the victory over the Friars. Freshmen Kristen Bradley and Maria Gerew saw their first career playing time and junior netminder Casey Rupon got her first minutes of the season.
The Knights started the weekend on the right foot with a 2-0 blanking of visiting Connecticut, which owned a 14-1-4 record over Rutgers prior to Friday night.
"This is definitely the most complete game we've played," said Crooks, who coached at Ridge High School during Rutgers' previous win over the Huskies. "UConn is very good. I have seen two of their games this year and despite their record, they are fantastic. To neutralize a team like that in the way we did tonight was something to see."
Schacher was the Knights' catalyst, heading in a cross from Filigno in the eighth minute — Rutgers' earliest goal this season. DeMaio started the play with a long pass that found Filigno's foot on the right sideline.
Schacher registered seven shots in total Friday, three of which went on net.
"I just felt like I had a lot of confidence [Friday], moving from the midfield to the forward," Schacher said. "It takes awhile to get used to a new position, but it felt like [Friday] I was definitely on."
DeMaio was also responsible for the Knights' second goal, when a long finesse pass found Price, who buried a shot in the back of the net in the 67th minute.
Price's goal marked the first time since a Sept. 5 win over Bucknell that Rutgers scored twice in a contest.
The scoring lead ballooned to a three-way tie after Price's goal, as Price, Schacher and Filigno were stalemated three goals apiece prior to yesterday's match against the Friars.
"Honestly we don't talk about [goal leaders] at all," Schacher said. "It's just, ‘Let's go out there and get the job done.' That's our mentality."
Friday night's Big East showdown marked just the first regular season meeting between the two schools at Yurcak Field since 2002. Because of the Big East's divisional alignment, UConn and Rutgers have met only 19 times since the Knights' 1987 victory.
"[UConn head coach] Lenny [Tsantiris] is all about the game is and all about how the game's played," Crooks said. "I will always enjoy the matches against UConn because they're good soccer matches.
"We've talked about scheduling independently. It would actually be an independent game on one of those odd years, so I'm sure that would happen."
The Knights begin a four-game road stretch Friday when the team travels to Chicago to take on DePaul prior to a pivotal showdown with No. 5 Notre Dame.