Knights make NCAA Tournament
Four straight overtime matches — three straight shootouts. For the Rutgers’s women’s soccer team, it was 361 minutes and 15 seconds without giving up a goal.
The Scarlet Knights capped off the 2013 season in the first round of the NCAA tournament Nov. 16 when they fell to West Virginia on penalty kicks.
The Knights will return the core group of a team that won 12 matches at Yurcak Field, setting a new single-season record, including two of their top-three scorers from this year’s squad.
Junior forward Stefanie Scholz started out the season as a substitute but exploded for four goals Sept. 15 against Princeton.
Five days later, Scholz was in the starting lineup for the first time this year. Her goal with just 31 seconds left in the match gave the Knights a 2-1 victory against regional-rival Villanova.
But the Knights will lose one of their best players in recent memory.
Senior forward Jonelle Filigno was second in scoring behind Scholz with eight goals and 19 points but leaves the program as the career leader in game-winning goals with 17.
Sophomore forward Rachel Cole was not one of the top scorers for the Knights this season, but she scored perhaps one of the most clutch goals for Rutgers all season in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals Nov. 3 against Cincinnati.
Cole’s 35-yard left-footed strike found the back of the net with 16 seconds left in the second overtime to spark the Knights to the conference semifinal for the first time since 2006.
Senior goalkeeper Jessica Janosz, who was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player during the AAC tournament, came up equally huge in the semifinal matchup against Memphis.
Janosz, who started every match in 2013, anchored a backline that held the Tigers’ AAC-leading offense to 10 shots and made four saves. She made two saves in the shootout to lead the Knights to their first conference championship appearance in almost 10 years.
While Rutgers was unable to come away with the conference title, the Knights received their second straight at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.
Head coach Glenn Crooks earned the 150th win of his Rutgers career and the 200th win of his collegiate coaching career, with both milestones coming against Cincinnati on Sept. 27 and Nov. 3, respectively.