Invitational gives RU benchmark for season
As the Rutgers women’s soccer team prepares for this weekend, it has an opportunity to learn from last weekend’s games against Virginia and William & Mary.
“Anytime you go into a weekend and come out of it with only one point and allow seven goals, it is pretty devastating,” said senior defender Tricia DiPaolo. “It is even more devastating not to learn from it, so we just need to go back to the drawing board this week and improve.”
The Scarlet Knights (4-1-1) pulled a 1-1 tie Sunday against William & Mary after dropping their first game to Virginia, 6-0.
But despite their performance at the Nike Soccer Invitational, there were some positives to take away from the Knights’ weekend.
“This is a team that is willing to learn and improve,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “It is also good to see some of our older players recognizing that we can [not only] learn a lot about watching film of ourselves, but seeing what teams like Virginia do well within their own game.”
This weekend, the Cavaliers outshot Rutgers, 19-2, and also recorded an 8-1 advantage in shots on goal.
“I think sometimes that we wait for the perfect shot when in reality there is no such thing as a perfect shot,” DiPaolo said.
While most may focus the X’s and O’s that can be found on film, sophomore midfielder Hayley Katkowski saw something more intangible that Rutgers could learn from its loss.
“It was good to see how much they wanted to win and they were hungry to score goals,” Katkowski said.
Both aspects of the Knights’ offensive game were corrected in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against William & Mary, where Rutgers held a 17-7 shot advantage and outshot the Tribe, 7-3, on net.
Despite that advantage, the Knights could not find the back of the net toward the end, even with some very good opportunities down the stretch.
Having the ability to adapt and improve one’s game in the face of adversity is the hallmark of a good team, which the Knights showed a glimpse of with adjustments from game to game.
Rutgers will have a few days to prepare for its next pair of opponents in Bryant and Princeton, but the team is using this past weekend as motivation to win again.
“We learned a lot from last weekend and obviously had our struggles, but we just use that as motivation to win next weekend,” Katkowski said.
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