Rutgers knocks off No. 19 Iowa, Indiana in weekend at home
Looking to make a splash in its first two conference games this season, the Rutgers field hockey team came out strong and showed the rest of the Big Ten that it will be a force to be reckoned with.
The No. 23 Scarlet Knights (7-3, 2-0) made a statement to start Big Ten play, shutting out Indiana (5-5, 0-2) and No. 19 Iowa (4-7, 0-3) this weekend. The Knights improved to 4-0 at home on the season.
Rutgers started off the weekend by blanking Indiana 2-0 on Friday. Freshman Gianna Mancini and sophomore Austyn Cuneo both scored, while freshman goalkeeper Gianna Glatz made four saves to record her sixth win.
The Knights outshot the Hoosiers 16-8 and earned seven penalty corners to Indiana’s four.
“I thought that we played well and were definitely the better team,” said head coach Meredith Civico. “We possessed the ball well, we stuck with our structure and played to our strengths and capitalized on attack penalty corners. We knew we had to execute on those opportunities in order to win and I was really pleased.”
Two days later, the team returned to the field and beat No. 19 ranked Iowa 1-0. Sophomore Katie Larmour provided the lone goal in just the tenth minute, while the defense held strong for the rest of the game despite being outshot by the Hawkeyes, 8-2 in the second half.
Larmour went through the process of how she scored the decisive goal, pointing out that she was not the only one who deserves credit.
“We had been practicing attack penalty corners all week and that’s how we scored,” the midfielder from Belfast, Northern Ireland said. “It was into the by-lane and Daphne (Groothuis) hit it to me from the right post and I just deflected it in. It came from a good insert and it was perfectly on target. I couldn’t have done it without help.”
Civico praised her team’s performance, but worried about her players tiring out in the second half.
“I thought we played really good hockey in the first half,” Civico said. “We were possessing the ball, we were passing well, and again we executed on attack penalty corners. In the second half we were a bit frantic and disorganized. I think the team was mentally and physically fatigued, and we have to get better at performing under that fatigue. We’re winning, but the team still felt under pressure.”
For Civico, the win marked a milestone at Rutgers, as it was her 50th victory since she became the Knights’ head coach. She attributed the win to a very good defense.
“Our defensive penalty corner unit was so solid today,” she said. “Glatz was outstanding, and Emily Howarth, Alanna Gollotto, Katie Larmour and Austyn Cuneo back there didn’t give up anything. I’m really pleased with our play on the defensive side.”
As the goalkeeper, Glatz praised her defense’s work in both games, and described how a good defense impacts the game as a whole.
“Having a confident defense instills confidence throughout the entire team, and it makes me confident,” she said. “I know I can rely on them, and it gives us a great groove going up the field. The communication helps everyone know where to go and where to be, and it shows the other team that we have the control and can possess the ball. It’s very intimidating.”
Rutgers’ next game is at Northwestern this Friday.
Overall it was a successful weekend from a competition standpoint, and the players believe that they are in great shape going forward.
“Being together really helps and is the key to success,” Larmour said. “We have the mindset that we back every single player on this team, whether they start or come in. That was our key thing to target this week, and the fact that we pulled it off felt amazing. We put ourselves in a great position going into next weekend.”
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