Seniors provide example to close out RU tenures
The final home stand of the regular season is always special.
For the Rutgers women’s soccer team, this weekend will be no different as its final two home games of the regular season will be meaningful both on and off the field.
Thursday night will feature the annual Pink Game, in which the Scarlet Knights will wear pink jerseys in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month as it takes on Connecticut.
“The Pink Game is always a special night with one of our alumni Shannon Evans organizing the event again this year,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “The more awareness that we can help raise the better.”
In Sunday’s final home game of the regular season against Temple, the team will honor forwards Jonelle Filigno and Maria Gerew, defender Tricia DiPaolo and goalkeeper Jessica Janosz.
“It has been a great time here at Rutgers, and this is a great group of girls to be able to share this moment with,” DiPaolo said. “Hopefully we can go out there and get the win.”
DiPaolo will be finishing up her seventh season with Rutgers, as she has dealt with a number of serious injuries throughout her career.
Three medical redshirts have allowed DiPaolo to extend her playing career. She has served as a captain since 2010.
“It’s definitely sad like any senior might say,” said Filigno, who has aspirations for the National Women’s Soccer League in 2014. “I would say it is more happy and sad to move on. I’m excited for Sunday but obviously with mixed emotions.”
Most of this season, the senior class has been the base of the Knights’ foundation as Rutgers attempts to win a conference title and secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The seniors have served as role models for the younger players.
“They are great leaders which is why everyone looks up to them,” said sophomore defender Erica Skroski. “It is going to be a great day to honor them.”
But instead of the usual “we are playing for the seniors” mindset that some teams might have, Rutgers’ seniors want to play for the underclassmen.
“The seniors told us that we shouldn’t play for them but instead they are going to play for us since they only have so much time left,” Skroski said. “We are really going to play our hearts out on Sunday.”
Rutgers’ goal this weekend is to ultimately earn a home playoff game, but the team is taking things one game at a time.
“We can’t look too far ahead at this point,” said sophomore defender Brianne Reed. “We just need to take things one game at a time to try and put ourselves in a good position to have that home tournament game.”
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