September 24, 2018 | ° F

Daunting trip, competition await in trip west

Photo by Andrew Howard |

After posting four saves in a 4-1 victory against Fordham on Monday night, junior goalkeeper Emmy Simpkins (left) will face a pair of high-scoring attacks over the weekend in California. Sophomore forward Jonelle Filigno leads the Knights with four goals this season after her hat trick showing Monday in Piscataway.

As the Rutgers women's soccer team braces itself for one of its longest and most challenging road trips of the season — a 5,600-mile round trip to Los Angeles — the perils of traveling are far from head coach Glenn Crooks' mind.

Sympathy for having to make such a difficult trip is also hard to come by.

"They're 19 years old, I don't want to hear about it," Crooks said.

But the one thing that unsettles any coach is a lack of focus, which most teams are susceptible to with the No. 6 team in the country waiting on the agenda.

But Crooks made it perfectly clear the focus is on tonight's battle with undefeated Loyola Marymount, not sixth-ranked UCLA.

"There's no looking ahead," he said. "Both teams are undefeated and Loyola [Marymount] has some impressive results. I know their program quite well so I think that if we're looking ahead to UCLA, that would be a major miscalculation on our feet."

The second game of the weekend is sure to be the true test for Crooks and Co.

The Knights pay a visit to UCLA (3-0-0) on Sunday with intentions of making up for a tough 1-0 defeat at the hands of No. 10 Boston College last week on the road.

Crooks sees the progress his team made since that game, but knows the Knights have to jump up another level this weekend for both games.

Luckily for Crooks, focus is the least of his worries.

"This whole weekend's a big opportunity," he said. "Our thoughts are always about the postseason. That's where we want to be, but we know we take

Anthony Hernandez

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