Rutgers hopes to respond again following loss
The Rutgers women’s soccer team has displayed many different characteristics this season, and resiliency has been one of them.
The Scarlet Knights (8-2-1, 1-1) return to Yurcak Field tonight after splitting a two-game road trip last weekend with a victory against Cincinnati and a loss against Louisville.
Rutgers has rarely had to rebound from a loss this season, but the one time they have needed to, they responded.
The Knights dominated Bryant, 4-0, on Sept. 13 following a 6-0 loss Sept. 6 to Virginia.
“The mood around the team has been really good and we know that we have to go out and get the win,” said senior defender Tricia DiPaolo. “We haven’t faced a ton of adversity this season, but the last time we lost we came back and had a great weekend.”
This time around, the Knights will face Memphis in their AAC home opener.
The Tigers (7-4, 0-2) will look to make a response of their own after a tough start to their conference schedule.
Memphis has lost its first two conference games in overtime, likely making this a must-win for the Tigers to stay in contention.
“We’ve watched the film on Memphis and they are a very good team,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “They are dangerous on the attack and are an athletic team that is comfortable with the ball, which makes them difficult to defend.”
Defensively, Rutgers will need to find a way to slow down two of the top-five goal scorers in the AAC.
Freshman forward Valerie Sanderson is tied for first in the AAC with nine goals, while senior midfielder Christabel Oduro is tied for fourth with seven.
The Knights also need to correct some of the defensive mistakes that plagued their last outing against Louisville.
“We have been working on defending as a team and having each other’s backs throughout the game,” said freshman midfielder Madison Tiernan.
Rutgers also needs to find a spark for its offense, which was held to two goals last weekend after scoring nine in the previous three games.
Tiernan, junior forward Stephanie Scholz and senior forward Jonelle Filigno have all shown an ability to score when the team needs it and will be players to watch for the Knights.
Another key for Rutgers will be defending their home field, which the team has done very well this season. The Knights are 6-0 at Yurcak Field
The Tigers are 4-3 on the road but have lost their last two away games.
For Rutgers to get a win, they may have to be prepared to play into overtime.
Memphis’ last two games have gone to overtime and double overtime, which means the Tigers may be tough to close out.
Rutgers is no stranger to late-game heroics, as the last time they played at home, they won a tight 2-1 match against Villanova.
No matter how the game plays out, Rutgers will be keeping their overall game plan simple.
“We just need to play our style and move the ball around to keep getting forward,” Scholz said.
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