August 16, 2018 | ° F

Filigno strains Achilles’ in conference opener

The Rutgers women’s soccer team welcomed Villanova to Yurcak Field on Friday in its first Big East game of the season.

The Scarlet Knights captured a 2-1 win, but with sophomore forward Jonelle Filigno’s early exit due to injury, the bigger story may be what they lost.

Rutgers came out fast and strong against the Wildcats (4-4-2), establishing possession and attacking relentlessly.

A strong attack paid off early for the Knights, as Filigno finished off a cross only five minutes into the game from freshman back Logan White.

Filigno’s goal marked one of Rutgers’ eight shots on goal in the first half, as the Knights finished the game with 13 shots to Villanova’s eight.

The Wildcats made an offensive push at the 55-minute mark, resulting in a goal by Villanova’s Heidi Sabatura after she split through the Knights backfield.

Only three minutes after the Villanova goal, Filigno, the team’s leading scorer with six goals, was carried off the field, unable to put pressure on her right Achilles’ tendon.

“Jonelle’s a world class player. She’s a cut above,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “But we have depth and these girls can play.”

Just as it seemed Villanova caught the break it needed, Rutgers’ depth proved critical in clinching the win.

Sophomore forward Maria Gerew, in only her second appearance for Rutgers, scored the first goal of her career for the game-winner. Gerew buried a beautiful cross by junior April Price from the right side of the field into the bottom left corner of the net.

“I think coming off the bench and getting a goal really pumped the reserves up,” Gerew said.

The Knights maintained possession over Villanova, allowing only a single shot following Gerew’s game-winning goal.

The Knights kicked off their 17th season in the Big East over the weekend, and in besting the Wildcats, improved to 7-7-3 all time in conference openers.

The win, which marked the 28th meeting between Rutgers and Villanova, improved the Knights’ all-time advantage against the Wildcats to 13-7-8.

The Knights battled Villanova more than any other school in the Big East.

By Taryn Hatcher

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