Pair of goals, clean sheets carry RU?past Ivy foes
There is no denying the abundance of scoring opportunities the Rutgers women’s soccer team had in both of its weekend contests against Ivy League foes.
With 15 shots on Friday against Yale and 16 more yesterday against Dartmouth, the Scarlet Knights posted two of their highest shot totals of the season.
But the Knights only needed to convert on two of those shots to sweep the weekend, with the latest score occurring two minutes into overtime yesterday off a penalty kick by sophomore Jonelle Filigno.
“We’re playing hard, we’re playing very hard,” said head coach Glenn Crooks after the team’s 1-0 victory. “Our backs played much better today than they did in the last match. I was very happy with the back line.”
After colliding with Dartmouth (1-3) goalkeeper Tatiana Saunders in the box on an aggressive attack, it was unclear whether Filigno would take the awarded penalty kick.
She lay on the field in pain for about three minutes, clutching her leg as she recovered from the play.
But she soon got up and made it clear the shot was hers to take.
“When I was on the ground I was like, ‘I’m taking this. Just give me a minute, I’m taking this,’” Filigno said. “Before I took it I knew where I was going to shoot.”
Dartmouth had a few scoring opportunities of their own in the Knights’ (5-2) shutout win, but they came very seldom.
Rutgers’ backline, consisting of seniors Julie Lancos and Jasmine Edwards and junior Shannon Woeller, rarely allowed the Big Green to sneak behind it or counter on the Knights’ attacks, and it reflected on the stat sheet.
Dartmouth recorded just two shots on goal and six total, making it easy for junior goalkeeper Emmy Simpkins to record her second consecutive shutout.
On the other side of the field, officials gave both teams plenty of room to play physically, as Filigno and freshman forward Stefanie Scholz ended up on the pitch on a number of occasions after colliding with Dartmouth players.
“There were a lot of things that happened in the last two matches that went uncalled, and that’s up to the official to control,” Crooks said.
The physical play eventually forced Filigno out of the game in the 25th minute, but she returned and played the entire second half.
In the Knights’ first game of the weekend against Yale, shot opportunities were just as bountiful.
Rutgers fired shot after shot at Yale (1-1-2) goalkeeper Adel Jackson-Gibbs, landing 11 of its 15 shots on goal.
But only one made its way to the back of the Bulldog’s net.
“This was supposed to be a 5-0, 6-0 win coming off that UCLA, LMU weekend,” said junior midfielder Stefanee Pace, who scored the game’s only goal in the 14th minute. “We could’ve carried on. It was important to score early, but we could’ve carried on more.”
Though Pace provided the only goal of the contest, escaping with the victory would not have been possible if not for a stalwart defensive effort.
A blocked shot just outside the box by Lancos in the 59th minute and a critical breakup in front of the net by Edwards late in the contest were two of many key plays from the Knights defense, which allowed just five shots.
But according to Crooks, freshman defender Morgan Kennedy deserves a bulk of the credit.
“Defender of the night was Morgan Kennedy, especially in the first half,” Crooks said. “She blocked three shots, maybe four. She covered for defenders beaten on at least half a dozen occasions. Morgan Kennedy was the back of the night.”
The Knights get back to work this week before welcoming Villanova to Yurcak Field on Friday night to open Big East play.
And even though his team only scored two goals in the past three games, Crooks is happy where his team stands less than a week from conference season.
“We’re a third of the way through and we haven’t even come close to the way we want to play — not even close,” Crooks said. “But we’re getting there.