August 19, 2018 | ° F

Pair of losses changes Knights’ outlook

Photo by Lawrence Cabredo |

Senior goalkeeper Emmy Simpkins records a save in front of a crowded net Friday in the Knights’ 2-1 overtime loss to Big East foe Villanova. Simpkins suffered an injury yesterday against Georgetown after diving for a save, forcing head coach Glenn Crooks to substitute in classmate Jessica Janosz.

The No. 16 Rutgers women’s soccer team’s ultimate goal was a 2-0 start in Big East play.

But with the Scarlet Knights’ 1-0 loss to Georgetown yesterday, the focus now shifts to breaking their first losing streak of the season.

“I’m very disappointed,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “Although Georgetown is good, I thought we were very organized on defense. I thought we defended them the way we wanted to, we just didn’t generate enough up top.”

The  Knights (7-3, 0-2) managed only three shots in the game after producing 20 against Villanova on Friday, while Georgetown (9-1-1, 2-0) managed 15 attempts.

Photo: Marielle Sumergido

Freshman forward Rachel Cole chases down a loose ball Friday against Villanova. Cole recorded the Knights’ best opportunity to score yesterday against Villanova, but she could not convert a breakaway.

The lone goal in the contest came after senior goalkeeper Emmy Simpkins suffered an injury on a diving save, colliding heads with senior defender Shannon Woeller and forcing junior goalkeeper Jessica Janosz into the contest.

It was the first game for Janosz since the Knights’ 4-1 loss to Texas A&M, and the Hoyas managed to go after her before she really found the field.

Not even a minute later, Georgetown forward Sarah Adams found defender Christina O’Toussa for a score to put the Hoyas up for good.

Though Simpkins has been consistent in net for Rutgers, Crooks said both keepers can get the job done.

“I’m extremely confident in Jess as a goalkeeper,” Crooks said. “That goal had nothing to do with the goalkeeper move. We left an area open, and the girl finished the ball well. She did fine in there.”

Rutgers’ best chance at scoring came in the 70th minute, when freshman forward Rachel Cole broke away from the defense, but goalkeeper Emma Newins saved her shot.

And with Crooks looking for more of a scoring punch in the first half of the Knights’ games, Rutgers did the complete opposite.

The Knights did not get a shot off in the first period, barely getting the ball in scoring position for the forwards to convert.

“They definitely had their game plan,” said junior forward Jonelle Filigno. “They defended pretty well back there, but we can always use more shots and be better at attacking.”

Crooks also believes the Knights need to attack more.

“Certainly Georgetown deserves a lot of credit for how they played us,” Crooks said. “But we have the talent that can produce more than three shots on goal.”

Although the Hoyas got off seven shots in the first half, each was barely a threat for Simpkins, who kept Georgetown in check in front of the net.

The shot total did not mirror the effort in the Knights’ 2-1 overtime loss to Villanova, when Rutgers outshot the Wildcats, 20-7.

The shot total did not matter, as Villanova converted two of those shots into goals, including a strike by freshman forward Renee Hart in overtime to win the game.

Hart took a pass from senior forward Heidi Sabatura with two minutes left in the overtime period and chipped it over Simpkins to seal the win.

Filigno tied the game at 1 on a penalty kick after she was tackled in the box. She proceeded to drill the penalty shot past Villanova’s Kelsey Quinn for the Knights’ only goal of the game and her eighth of the season.

Villanova midfielder Stephanie Myers found the back of the net in the 18th minute to put the Wildcats on top, and besides the penalty shot by Filigno, the Knights could not answer.

With South Florida and Marquette on deck for Rutgers this week, the focus turns to breaking a losing streak the Knights have not experienced since dropping two straight contests last season from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, when they lost to St. John’s and Syracuse in consecutive games.

“Against Villanova we were all over the goal, and against Georgetown we couldn’t get close to the goal,” Crooks said, “so we have to prepare for our opponents and just focus on specific aspects of our game.”

By Bradly Derechailo

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