March 19, 2019 | 29° F

Rutgers senior sparks offensive fire

Photo by Luo Zhengchen |

Senior forward Nicole Imbriaco has tied her career high of five goals set last season through 19 games in the early season for the Knights.

It may seem like the finale, but this is only the beginning.

Already snatching career firsts and setting career highs just over two weeks into the season, Rutgers field hockey’s Nicole Imbriaco has hit the ground running in her senior year on the Banks—and she is far from finished.

Scoring the very first goal of the season for the Scarlet Knights in their 3-1 victory over Bucknell opening weekend, Imbriaco has not slowed down since, scoring in four of five games played so far. She currently leads the team with a career-high 12 points on the season and 10 shots on goal.

Her early milestones have not gone unnoticed.

“I’m so incredibly proud of Nicole Imbriaco. She’s a tremendous human being who’s just, you know, you kind of looked at her coming into preseason and you looked at her last spring and she’s just been focused from last spring until now,” said head coach Meredith Civico. “To see her really translating all her preparation and all her training into her game play is just incredible.”

Through 19 games last season, Imbriaco set a career-high of five goals that put her at third on the team for the season. Contributing two of the team’s five goals against Villanova on Friday, the senior forward has now tied her previous record in nearly a quarter as many games.

The Clark, New Jersey, has also already doubled her previous shots-on-goal career-high, with 10 so far this season to contrast last year’s five. Of the five from last season, the she finished in the cage on every one.

A fierce determination fuels Imbriaco’s training and game play. The results speak for themselves.

“I think for me, my personal mindset is just working 100 percent when I’m out there, whether that be on the press trying to force the ball to the sides or trying to get ahead for my teammate,” Imbriaco said. “I think that’s just my main mentality—just working as hard as I possibly can, sprint till I can’t go anymore and kind of just put my body on the ground if I have to.”

Coming into Rutgers as a heavily decorated athlete from Arthur L. Johnson High School, Imbriaco walked on to the team that now relies on her as a crucial contributor to the offensive unit. One look at the growth seen through her last four years makes evident this season’s success as a culmination of a career that has steadily been on the rise.

It started with getting a few shots on goal her freshman year, which sprouted into two goals and six shots her sophomore season. A breakout junior year with ten total points and 12 starts was the preview for this season’s fireworks on the field.

Perhaps the most exciting and striking aspect of Imbriaco’s journey lies in that it is far from over.

Earning an esteemed position both on and off the field, Imbriaco is just getting started exhibiting what she’s capable of contributing during her final season as a Knight.

“She’s so respected by her teammates and the coaching staff and she’s one of our most consistent players on the field. She’s worked very hard to be there,” Civico said. “Nicole came into Rutgers and worked her way up, truly. To see her having and feeling the success in her senior year is just awesome.”

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

Kaylee Pofahl

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