Rutgers snaps losing streak behind junior's two goals
The losing streak has finally ended at five games, as the Rutgers field hockey team was able to come away with a home win Sunday against New Hampshire, 2-1.
The Scarlet Knights (5-6) ran into some tough luck having lost four of their last five games to ranked opponents by one goal.
Rutgers got on the board early when junior forward Katie Champion scored twice in the first 16 minutes.
The Wildcats (3-9) cut the lead in half 12 minutes into the second half thanks to midfielder Gianna Benasia’s goal, but ultimately their comeback fell short.
“It felt really good,” said head coach Meredith Long. “I think the team came out with the right mindset. It’s great to get the win.”
Unfortunately, Rutgers was not able to get the weekend sweep as it fell Friday to No. 20 Michigan State (7-4), 3-2.
The Knights got on the board early when sophomore defender Sophia Walia dribbled through the Spartans’ defense and score.
It was Walia’s first game back after missing the last three games.
“It was nice to be back, finally,” Walia said. “It was nice to catch up to the progression that we’ve been making and to be back with my teammates.”
The turning point in the game came at the 23-minute mark when Spartan forward Abby Barker was able to put one in the back of the net unassisted.
In the next 10 minutes, Michigan State added two more goals from defender Ali Helwig and forward Kendal Anderson, taking a 3-1 lead into the half.
“In the first half we set the tone early by scoring first and I think after that we had just a bit of a mental lapse,” Long said. “In that next 10 minute-period they put three goals in and we put ourselves in a situation that was really hard to come back from.”
Sophomore forward Rachel Yaney had a breakaway one-on-one with the goalie, but like the offense throughout this season, she failed to take advantage.
The Knights unlike past games were able to generate a lot more opportunities on offense.
“I think that was something we focused on a lot this week,” Long said. “Just retaining possession in our front third and generating quality opportunities, and I definitely think we had that today. We just really need to put the ball in the goal, though.”
Rutgers lost some momentum when Walia (50:52) got a yellow card, followed by Elyse Broderick (52:57) shortly after. The offense was nonexistent and the Knights played most of the seven minutes in their half.
Although the Knights played a player down, they did not let in a goal.
“We were very composed and played strong, smart defense instead of diving in and committing fouls,” said sophomore midfielder Alyssa Bull.
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