Knights salvage NY trip in draw with Johnnies
The Rutgers women's soccer team came into last weekend needing four victories in as many games to lock up a berth in the Big East Tournament.
Halfway through the stretch, the Scarlet Knights find themselves two games short of their goal.
The Knights (8-8, 3-5-1) salvaged the weekend Sunday by earning a scoreless draw with St. John's (6-8-2, 3-5-1) in Queens, N.Y.
"I would say I'm disappointed with the attack, in terms of finishing mentality," said head coach Glenn Crooks. "There were a lot of good things. That's what we have to take into the next weekend."
Both teams registered a combined 37 shots in 110 minutes, but neither managed to put a shot in the back of the net.
Crooks opted to utilize goalkeepers Emmy Simpkins and Samantha Perretty for the second straight match, but the two combined for just two saves.
"They've both done really well," said junior captain Tricia DiPaolo. "They both have a good relationship and continue to push each other in order to do better."
Neither team was able to separate itself statistically in the first half, with each registering seven shots. The Knights managed to force two saves by Red Storm netminder Kristin Russell.
Two Rutgers corner kicks in the second stanza gave the team legitimate opportunities to take the lead, but Russell remained strong in net.
Sophomore back Shannon Woeller headed a corner from senior captain Gina DeMaio, but Russell stopped the effort in the 54th minute.
Senior Ashley Jones took a shot on net off another DeMaio corner, but once again Russell refused to give in, registering one of her seven saves on the day.
"We're doing really well. It's there [and] we just have to put it together," Jones said. "We're moving the ball well and working really hard," Jones said. "It's just a matter of us finishing, putting balls in the net."
DeMaio and Woeller were two of four Knights to play all 110 minutes. A total of 19 Knights saw action in a contest that tested their physical and mental endurance.
Rutgers' match Friday at Syracuse (6-7-4, 3-4-1) took on a similar low-scoring appearance until the Orange's Tina Romagnuolo tallied the match's lone goal in the 86th minute.
Despite taking just one less shot than the host Orange, the Knights registered three more shots on goal.
"We were going up against [Syracuse's] best that day as it turned out," Crooks said. "That would've never been an issue had we finished our opportunities. Friday was all about missing very good opportunities."
Perretty took over for regular starter Simpkins in net in the second half and managed three saves, but also conceded the decisive score.
Junior captain Karla Schacher, who came into the match with three goals in the team's past four games, led the Knights with only two shots.
Schacher earned the team's best opportunity on net in the 49th minute, when the Tofield, Alberta, native had a one-on-one with an Orange defender. Her shot went just wide of net.
Despite the adverse results, Rutgers sits in sole possession of fourth place in the Big East's National Division after a poor weekend for Louisville, who dropped consecutive conference decisions.
"Everyone is stepping up," Jones said. "[Owning our destiny] is a really big motivator to get us going to win."
The Knights take on Louisville on Sunday to close out the regular season after doing battle with Cincinnati.
The team hosts its last two matches after enduring a tough four-game road trip.
"We have to play with the same mentality, whether we're playing at home or we're playing away," DiPaolo said. "We definitely have to come out and win the next two. The fact that [they are] at home helps."