Rutgers snaps 4-game losing streak
Everyone loves a comeback.
The Rutgers field hockey team brought an end to a four-game losing streak and captured the program’s first win over American this weekend, edging the Eagles, 2-1.
The Scarlet Knights (7-9, 0-7) faced a 1-0 deficit at halftime, but a strong second half rally propelled the Knights toward strong offensive outcomes and tight defensive dominance.
Freshman midfielder Linde van Schaik netted an unassisted goal to tie up the score and junior forward Sarah Regn knocked in the game-winner on a corner play.
Despite the uphill battle the team faced after the first half, the Knights remained resolute and knew that the game was far from over. Their energy and performance on the field was high, and Rutgers just needed to translate opportunities into outcomes.
“It was unfortunate American capitalized on a counterattack and scored early, but we went into halftime, kind of with the message to the team that they’re doing a great job, they’re creating opportunities,” said head coach Meredith Civico. “They went back out and they continued to attack, continued to play really good hockey and were able to come back and score two goals. I think that was a real testament to the team’s attention to the game plan and their focus on the details.”
The team mentality played a major role in producing results for the Knights this weekend. Throughout the season, Rutgers has struggled to maintain their composure and tenacity throughout the entire 70 minutes of game play.
The Knights persisted and finally returned to the win column.
“I think we played good hockey. We played smart, we played composed under pressure,” Civico said. “We knew we could do it and I think team had that bit of confidence — they knew they were playing good hockey, they knew they were creating opportunities and they really knew that if they kept working and they kept sticking with the game plan that they were gonna be able to put a goal in.”
After dropping seven of its last nine games, it was critical for Rutgers to come out on top against the Eagles to bolster team confidence and build momentum toward a strong finish to the season.
The team’s strong cohesion on the field through the game played a major role in the triumph over American.
“I would say that this is the first game in a while that we all kind of had the same mindset,” Regn said. “We knew what we needed to have come out of the game, we knew the game plan and everyone just performed really well. I think everyone was just ready for a win and a well-deserved win.”
At this point in the season, the Knights have nothing to lose. They were knocked out of the running for the Big Ten Championships after falling to Penn State and Maryland at home last weekend.
With the stress of postseason gone, Rutgers has been able to get back to playing its game freely and having fun.
“There wasn’t any pressure, they just wanted to go out and compete," Civico said. "I think for this team that’s the key — when they’re uptight and they’re under pressure, we sit on our heels a little bit and we play a little bit tight but when they just go out and they’re creative and they support each other and they play just free, they play really well.”
Though there are only two games left in the regular season for the Knights, this latest win nonetheless marks a change of pace that will have a significant impact on the remainder of the season.
Moving forward, Rutgers is excited to carry this positive momentum and work toward ending the fall on a high note.
“I think it was definitely a necessary win and I think we’ve kind of hit a turning point now,” said redshirt junior and team captain Alyssa Bull. “I think we’re really just taking away that if we play our game and we work together and we have fun and just play hockey instead of over-thinking everything that we’ll get the outcomes and we’ll enjoy it.”
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