Five-goal output caps high-scoring weekend
The Rutgers women’s soccer team could not buy a goal in the early stages of Big East play.
In the Scarlet Knights’ 5-0 victory against Cincinnati yesterday at Yurcak Field, they had more goals then they knew what to do with.
“We identified what we needed to work on,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “The players prepared and executed. It is not an accident that there was production this weekend. It has been coming.”
With the victory never in question, the Knights played conservative during the second half against the Bearcats (4-12-1, 1-9). Rutgers found the back of the net only once in the second half on a goal from senior midfielder Maura McLaughlin in the 50th minute off an assist from senior forward April Price.
Rutgers’ offensive onslaught came in the first half.
Freshman forward Rachel Cole converted on one of two Rutgers penalty kicks in the 12th minute after freshman forward Amanda DeVolk was taken down in the box. Cole drilled a shot to the left of Cincinnati goalkeeper Kristina Utley for her second of the season and the Knights’ fourth of the game.
Junior forward Jonelle Filigno continued her hot play with two goals of her own. Her header off of senior midfielder Tricia DiPaolo’s cross from the right side of the box in the 32nd minute put Rutgers up, 3-0, and gave Filigno second place in Rutgers history for goals in a single season.
Filigno has 14 goals this season and sits behind four players who have 15.
“We are very happy that we came out with this big win,” Filigno said. “I think the whole team as a whole can be credited. From the back line stopping the shots that need to be stopped to the forwards having confidence going after players.”
The best-looking goal of the day came from DiPaolo. Since her switch to defense, DiPaolo’s involvement in the offense has been nonexistent. She attempted just 10 shots before Cincinnati, but her goal in the 24th minute was a beauty, as she drilled a shot behind Utley in the top left corner of the net from 20-yards out on the right side of the box to give Rutgers a 2-0 lead.
“We had two corners before that, and I was wide open,” DiPaolo said. “The coaches said, ‘Tricia is open on that play,’ so I took the shot and was wide open.”
The aggressive approach the Knights now have on offense was visible in their 3-0 win Friday against Louisville (9-4-3, 4-3-3).
Filigno found the back of the net twice in that game as well, as she drilled a goal at the start of the second half to give Rutgers (11-6-1, 5-4-1) its 3-0 lead after her first goal in the 26th minute.
Sophomore midfielder Amy Pietrangelo gave the Knights their first goal when she took a cross from Filigno in the 31st minute and scored.
With Rutgers’ newfound offense, the Knights went from being on the outside looking in for the Big East Tournament to possibly holding a home playoff game if Villanova loses Friday to Georgetown.
And while Rutgers does not necessarily have to win at Seton Hall to get into the postseason because of its performance this weekend, Filigno knows every game still counts.
“Everyone is on a high right now,” Filigno said. “We can’t get complacent, so we still have another game to win.”
For updates on the Rutgers women’s soccer team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDtargum.