Reserve replaces injured goalkeeper
With all the trouble the Rutgers women’s soccer team has with finding the back of the net in the first half — and more recently entire matches — it is important to have a consistent goalkeeper in between the pipes.
The Scarlet Knights had that with senior goalkeeper Emmy Simpkins, who took control of the starting job.
But Simpkins went down with a head injury last week against Georgetown, when she collided with senior defender Shannon Woeller on a save attempt.
Junior goalkeeper Jessica Janosz replaced Simpkins, finishing out the Knights’ 1-0 loss to the Hoyas.
Janosz remained in the lineup for Rutgers’ past two matches against South Florida and Marquette.
“I think she has done well [in place of Simpkins]. I think she was solid, “ Crooks said. “She obviously did what we needed her to do to win the game on Friday, and on Sunday, both goals were difficult [in a loss].”
A shot in the 19th minute that went through a Rutgers defender’s leg, making it difficult for Janosz to deflect the attempt, put the Golden Eagles up, 1-0.
While the loss against Marquette moved the Knights to 1-3 in the conference, Janosz’s performance against South Florida on Friday is a main reason why Rutgers is not 0-4.
Seeing her first start of the season, the Ringwood, N.J., native recorded five saves in the Knights’ 1-0 double-overtime victory, including an impressive two-save effort in the 11th minute.
Janosz dove to her right to defend a shot from Bulls midfielder Jackie Simpson, then proceeded to kick-save a shot off of a rebound from the missed attempt.
Rutgers escaped that game in the final two minutes of the second overtime period on a penalty kick by junior forward Jonelle Filigno, her ninth of the season.
Janosz believes her teammates are doing all they can to correct their offensive slump, something she admits puts added pressure on her and the back four.
“You try to hold it off as long as you can, but we have faith in our forwards and we have been struggling a bit, but I think it is coming soon, “ Janosz said. “They have been doing plenty of extra shots and extra work so I think it will work out.”
Simpkins, who has had a week to recover from her injury, should return to her starting position when the Knights travel Friday to St. John’s, but Janosz’s performance in her past two starts has Crooks confident in both of his back-up goalies.
He also speaks highly of freshman reserve goalkeeper Alana Jimenez.
“I thought they were two good performances [by Janosz], “ Crooks said. “It is important to have three quality keepers, especially at this level. I wouldn’t be nervous putting any three of them in.”
For now, Janosz knows that at any time she can be called into action, and the veteran is ready whenever that happens.
“I really don’t think it is that much different of a mentality, “ Janosz said. “You are part of the team whether you or on the bench or playing and everyone plays a role on this team. Everyone on this team will be called upon to play.”