July 20, 2019 | 83° F

Rutgers builds momentum, welcomes Villanova

Photo by Shirley Yu |

Junior midfielder Alyssa Bull said her team is focused on taking the season game-by-game. She has five total points this year.

A short-term focus paves the way for long-term results.

The Rutgers field hockey team (3-1) looks to inch closer to its ambitions for this season as they take on Villanova (1-3) Friday afternoon at the Bauer Track and Field Complex.

Coming off of a 4-2 win against Monmouth earlier in the week on Wednesday afternoon, the Scarlet Knights hope to carry strong momentum into this next contest. Despite winning in the teams’ last match up in 2013 by a score of 3-2, the Wildcats hold a 19-14-1 edge over Rutgers in the all-time series.

So far in the young season, Villanova collected just one victory over Ball State and most recently fell to Monmouth, 3-1.

Still, the Knights are not underestimating the Wildcats.

“Villanova’s gonna be a tough game, they’re another tough team to play. They have a lot of energy (and) a lot of fight, but we’re looking forward to making some adjustments and coming back out. We’re taking every game at a time," said head coach Meredith Civico. "Our goal is to just really have an effect on every opponent we play and compete in every game that we have. The most important game is the one that’s next for us and that’s Villanova. We want to use it as an opportunity to get better as a team."

Rutgers enters its next game armed with early season successes. Scoring 15 goals in four games, the Knights currently lead the Big Ten with an average of 3.75 goals scored per game. Rutgers has also outshot every opponent its faced thus far, with a collective 79-35 edge.

In their latest contest, a halftime regroup bolstered a team rally that pushed the Knights past Monmouth after matching the Hawks, 1-1, at halftime.

Despite its sloppy start, another win on the season for Rutgers augments a confidence that would reinforce a strong, positive mindset. Adamant on correcting the blunders from their last game, the Knights are focused largely on being more consistent against Villanova.

“We just have to prep ourselves mentally to come out first to last whistle and not just highs and lows like today,” said sophomore forward Jade Dixon.

Despite the Wildcats’ losing record, Rutgers plans on taking them on with the same tenacity it brought to the field against every opponent.

The results yielded thus far have been favorable. For the Knights, it’s a matter of continuing and improving rather than recovering and overcoming.

“We go into every game treating every opponent equally,” said junior captain Alyssa Bull. “Come out strong and focus on our game rather than what the other team’s gonna do — that’s what we really need to do.”

When they step onto the field Friday afternoon, Rutgers seeks to capitalize on the opportunity to propel itself toward further success. The Knights have set high expectations for themselves this season and they claim to be ready to deliver the results.

“I think we’re gonna come out on top but that’s what I think every game — you gotta go in positive,” Bull said. “I believe in the team and we can really beat any opponent that we come across this year—but one game at a time.”

For updates on the Rutgers field hockey team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Kaylee Pofahl

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