Knights host Wildcats in weekend clash
With Villanova set to visit Yurcak Field, the Rutgers women’s soccer team will try to remain humble after a week of individual awards.
The Scarlet Knights (6-1-1) want to build off of last weekend’s dominant homestand and end their nonconference schedule strong before next week’s conference debut.
“We’ve been working together lately and it’s our last weekend before conference play, which is huge for us,” said sophomore defender Erica Skroski, who is part of a defensive unit that has allowed two goals in the Knights last three games.
Rutgers is currently undefeated at home, which accounts for five of the team’s six wins. Villanova (3-3-2) has yet to find its first road victory of the season, as it is currently 0-2-1 away.
There is a bit of history between these former Big East foes with last year’s meeting resulting in an upset for the Wildcats.
It will be the programs’ 30th meeting, with Rutgers holding the all-time series lead 13-8-8.
“They are really good technically and they normally have a pretty good team, so I just think we’re going to need to come out and play together as a unit,” said freshman midfielder Madison Tiernan, who is the reigning AAC Rookie of the Week.
While Tiernan has been one freshman to watch this season for Rutgers, Villanova will look to counter with a freshman of its own.
Freshman forward Katie Martin leads the Wildcats in points, which includes four goals and six assists this season.
The Knights will also need to stop midfielder Victoria Gersh, who was named to the Big East’s Weekly Honor Roll after scoring the game-winning goal in Villanova’s 2-1 victory last weekend against St. Francis.
If senior goalkeeper Jessica Janosz continues her strong play, Rutgers can replicate the defensive presence it had last weekend.
Janosz has allowed just above one goal per game, and aside from the 6-0 loss to Virginia, she has only allowed two goals to the opposition.
Janosz was named this week to her second AAC Weekly Honor Roll of the season. But in humble fashion, she said she would rather see her defensive teammates receive the honor.
“To be honest I think that my defenders should be on there, not me,” Janosz said. “It’s a very generous honor, but there should be other players on there.”
A win will require a team effort Friday, and now the Knights have momentum and a team that seems to be back in sync.
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