Potential record-breaking goal could extend year
Jonelle Filigno said earlier in the week it would be an honor to break the single-season scoring record for the Rutgers women’s soccer team tonight against Seton Hall.
And while the record will catapult the junior forward up the rankings, a Filigno goal might just earn the Scarlet Knights a first-round home match in the Big East Tournament.
The way the season has gone for the Knights (11-6-1, 4-5-1) in Big East play, head coach Glenn Crooks would be satisfied with any seed despite the Rutgers’ recent success.
“The fact is we are creating more opportunities and more quality opportunities,” Crooks said. “If you look at shots on goal it is pretty similar to the way it was in the beginning of the season, but the quality is higher in our opportunities and that’s a good thing.”
Those opportunities Crooks is referring to are the ones during non-conference play, when the Knights posted a 7-1 record and recorded at least a goal in each of their eight games.
But Rutgers’ scoring disappeared along with its wins in the beginning of Big East play, as it went 1-5 in its next six games.
Left at the bottom of the conference standings after a disappointing overtime loss to Syracuse Sept. 30, the Knights fought back in position to host a home tournament match.
But a win against Seton Hall (7-11, 2-8), Crooks believes, is more important than what seed it will give his team.
“Our ultimate goal is to participate in the NCAA Tournament and not just participate, but advance deeply into it as well as the Big East Tournament,” Crooks said, “so this game is important in those aspects as well because every result tends to have a result on the postseason.”
Rutgers is guaranteed a spot in the Big East Tournament if it wins tonight. If Villanova loses or draws and Rutgers wins, the Knights will claim the fourth seed and host a first round match Oct. 25 at Yurcak field.
For Rutgers to miss the playoffs, it would have to lose tonight and DePaul would have to win against Notre Dame.
But the only game Crooks is worried about is the one against the Pirates, which are one the Rutgers’ top rivals, he said.
“A lot of the girls know each other and there are a lot of New Jersey players on both rosters,” Crooks said. “Seton Hall [versus] Rutgers, Princeton [versus] Rutgers, they have a little more of a ‘giddy up’ than other matches, but you can’t treat it differently than we have treated any of the other matches. What we need to do is execute and hopefully it will be enough to give us the result we want in the end.”
Seton Hall enters the match with a conference-worst 2.17 goals allowed per game, something Filigno will have in her mind as she attacks the Pirates defense.
With 14 goals this season, she needs one goal to tie the single-season goal scoring record held by four other Knights.
But Filigno knows a win is more important.
“It is really important — every single game is important,” Filigno said. “We need to come out with the win [tonight].”
For updates on the Rutgers women’s soccer team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.