Sophomore’s strike advances Rutgers
The game plan for the Rutgers women’s soccer team was simple: control the ball and limit Colgate’s opportunities around the net.
The Scarlet Knights executed their plan, defeating Colgate, 1-0, Saturday to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Raiders managed 20 shots against the Knights, a stat head coach Glenn Crooks expected.
“We beat a very good team,” Crooks said. “I don’t know what type of reputation Colgate has or what people think, but they are a very good team. It was a great win, and we came up big a couple of times and fought from start to finish.”
Senior goalkeeper Emmy Simpkins spearheaded the shutout, registering five saves in the match, including a game-saving deflection in the 63rd minute.
Colgate forward Jillian Kinter shot the ball right in front of Simpkins, but the Concord, N.C., native dove to her left to prevent the Raiders from tying the match.
“It was a well-deserved clean sheet,” Crooks said. “She was very good and when we needed her to come up big, she did. She had a great match.”
And while Rutgers’ preparations were to limit Colgate’s opportunities, junior forward Jonelle Filigno said earlier in the week the team needed to convert on shots early to avoid playing catch-up the whole contest.
After a goal by sophomore forward Cassie Inacio was called back on an offside ruling, Filigno had her chance in the 59th minute.
She launched two shots on goal, but did not convert either of them.
Fortunately for Filigno and the rest of the team, those missed opportunities meant little thanks to Amy Pietrangelo.
The sophomore midfielder found the back of the net in the 20th minute off of a pass from Inacio. Pietrangelo blasted a goal past Colgate goalie Ashley Walsh for the only score of the game and her second game-winner of the season.
“Colgate was trying to clear the ball out and I saw the ball coming out, so I just hit it with my left foot,” Pietrangelo said. “It felt great. I was happy to help the team, so it was a great feeling.”
The win marks the sixth time Rutgers has advanced past the first round under Crooks, an achievement he credits everyone but himself for.
“I’m very proud of the team and my coaching staff and everyone around,” Crooks said. “We just had one game to get ready for and everyone did a good job getting ready.”
Crooks was impressed with Colgate’s talent level, but Rutgers’ next opponent provides a bigger challenge.
The Knights take on No. 2 seed Virginia in the second round Friday, with the Cavaliers owning a win against La Salle in the first round.
While Rutgers continues to prepare to pull off an upset, for now, the team has time to take in its victory.
“Virginia is one of the best teams in the country, there is not any question about that,” Crooks said. “They have been one of the best in the country for a long time. There are a lot of challenges coming up, but we are going to enjoy it now and really it is a thrill to still be playing.”
For updates on the Rutgers women’s soccer team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.