RU?aims to halt lack of scoring
The lack of offense for the Rutgers women’s soccer team has been evident throughout its 1-3 Big East season.
While the Scarlet Knights have not tallied a goal in the first half of those contests, head coach Glenn Crooks believes the whole game has to be addressed to pinpoint where the Knights’ scoring problems lie.
“I think you just have to look over 90 minutes,” he said. “We have to score more over the 90-minute period. Whether it is the first half or second half, if we win every game, 3-1, and the three goals are in the second half, to be quite honest with you, it is not a big concern. We just over a 90-minute period have to be more consistent in our attack.”
The main focus in practice this week has been finding a comfort level and confidence when it comes to converting around the net, Crooks said.
The Knights (8-4) may have their best opportunity to iron their scoring kinks out tonight, when they play St. John’s — the first away game for Rutgers since Sept. 9.
The Red Storm (4-7, 0-4) have allowed a Big-East worst 27 goals this season, good for 2.45 goals per contest. The next lowest total in that category is Seton Hall with a 1.83 per-game mark.
The lack of defense by St. John’s opens up opportunities for an offense with only two goals — both on penalty shots by junior forward Jonelle Filigno — in Big East play.
Freshman midfielder Rachel Cole believes an offensive outburst is within reach.
“We shoot almost every single day to try and work on it,” Cole said of scoring. “I think we are definitely there — it is just a matter of time before it happens.”
Crooks also sees the effort, but when it comes to St. John’s, he knows better than anyone else that Rutgers cannot take its opponent lightly.
It was only two weeks ago the Knights played their first Big East match of the season at home against Villanova, which sported a 2-4-2 record.
The Wildcats upended Rutgers, 2-1, in overtime on a goal by forward Renee Hart in a game in which the Knights outshot their opponent, 19-7.
With the match being the first of four away games for the Knights, Crooks knows how important it is to pick up a win in Queens.
“On the road,” Crooks said. “The biggest challenge is that it is at their field. When you are on the road in the league if you can [earn] points, especially three, it is always monumental.”
Three points or only one — from a tie — could mean a move up in the league standings, as Rutgers sits in sixth place in the Big East’s National Division.
St. John’s is the Knights’ best opportunity of the weekend to gain points and also serves as the ideal team for goalkeeper Emmy Simpkins to return against.
The senior went down with an injury against Georgetown on Sept. 16, and Crooks said she is on her way to returning at full strength.
“She trained [Wednesday],” Crooks said. “It was our first full session, and I think she came out of it OK. She appears to be good to go.”
Syracuse serves as the other opponent for Rutgers this weekend, with the Orange coming off a 1-0 victory Sunday against Cincinnati.
While Syracuse (5-4-2, 2-1-1) is in the middle of pack in terms of scoring in Big East play — it is currently tied for eighth in goals scored and ninth in shots attempted — Crooks sees it as a big weekend for a team that still has chances to better position itself for postseason play.
“We have put ourselves in a position where we can’t squander too many more opportunities, but at the same time we can’t think if it does not go well in any particular match it is not the end, because that’s not the case,” he said. “We need to just keep improving on things that will give us an opportunity to win these matches coming up.”
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