Sophomores' goals guide Rutgers in victory
The Rutgers field hockey team came into this weekend with its eyes set solely on James Madison in its preparation. And it showed Sunday, as the Scarlet Knights (7-9) were able to get the win, 2-1.
“I really think it was a great win today,” said head coach Meredith Long. “Our team showed a lot of maturity and composure on the field today. They fought hard.”
The Knights came out in the first half firing on offense. Rutgers was able to score two goals, the first coming from sophomore forward Rachel Yaney and the second from sophomore forward Jasmine Cole.
Rutgers has continually struggled on offense, but this week it played better.
“This was one of our best attacking performances of the season,” Long said, complimenting Yaney, Cole and junior forward Katie Champion’s play.
James Madison (10-6) didn’t go quietly. The Dukes fought back in the first half and throughout the game.
James Madison was able to add a goal shortly after Cole’s in the first half to cut the lead in half, off the stick of forward Erin Gallivan.
The Knights were stout as they usually are on defense in the second half.
James Madison had the ball in Rutgers’ defensive half for the majority of the final eight minutes of the game, but the Knights were able to stand tall and not give up the game-tying goal.
“We communicated that we needed to mark, up and we knew that you can only score from inside the circle,” said senior midfielder Jenn Staab. “So we stepped out, made sure they passed it out and [intercepted] when we could. We were patient.”
Long credited her team’s composure throughout those last eight minutes, saying it was what led them to get the much needed win.
With two minutes remaining, James Madison’s pressure paid off and it earned a corner. Rutgers, however, was able to handle the corner with ease.
“I have a lot of confidence in our defensive corners,” Staab said. “It was scary because it’s a close game, but I wasn’t worried.”
Overall, Long was satisfied in how her team translated the game plan onto the field this week.
“We really wanted to be in control,” Long said. “JMU did everything to get in our defensive circle. We were smart with our passes. The team knew they’d come away with the win, if they remained composed.”
Rutgers did it without a team leader and key player in sophomore midfielder Alyssa Bull.
“Alyssa is such a key player for us,” Long said. “She generates so much attack. Players really stepped up today and filled that gap a little bit.”
Bull sat out as a precaution to get her back for the key clash next Friday against Indiana. She had an offseason ACL surgery and has played almost every minute of every game this season.
Cole described this win as huge for the team.
“It gives us a lot of confidence, coming from last weekend’s losses, and now, having this win gives us that forward momentum for the Indiana game,” Cole said.
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