Rutgers looks forward to road trip with games at George Mason, Georgetown
Amid its best start of the season since 2015 — when it went to the College Cup for the first time in school history — the Rutgers women’s soccer team will take its 5-0 record on the road this weekend to take on George Mason and Georgetown.
The No. 14 Scarlet Knights (5-0) continue to climb in the rankings after finishing 25th at the end of last year and cracking the top 25 at the start of this season at No. 21. But the team isn’t satisfied just yet.
“It’s great to have a ranking this early in the season, but I think that we’re all not even really that focused on it,” said senior captain and midfielder Christy Monroy. “We’re hungry for so much more than that and 5-0 isn’t enough. We want more.”
The first test in the quest for more will be George Mason. The Patriots (0-5) have gotten off to a slow start but head coach Mike O’Neill is not underestimating them.
“We focus on one game at a time so the most important game of the year is George Mason,” he said. “That’s all we talk about.”
Following George Mason, Rutgers will travel to the nation’s capital to try and avenge last year’s heartbreaking overtime 2-1 loss to Georgetown at Yurcak Field — the team’s lone loss at home last season. The Hoyas were also the team that knocked the Knights out of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament last year.
No. 15 Georgetown (4-2) sports an impressive track record this season. With its only losses coming against Stanford and West Virginia — currently ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
“It’s definitely going to be a big rise in competition and Georgetown is a really great opponent,” said senior captain and forward Colby Ciarrocca. “We played them last year and it’s always a competitive game.”
When asked if he thought this team felt different than teams prior, O’Neill said that the foundation of character, talent and leadership is still there as it’s become the standard of the program. Despite this, he did say every team has a one-year life span and after that it’s the coaching staff’s job to continue to find players who fit in with the program’s standards.
Players who have aided in this process are the team’s captains, Ciarrocca and Monroy.
“I think that the (captains) all lead the team in different ways and that we are all really accountable for our leadership role and use our position in different ways,” Monroy said. “Every person kind of has their moment whether that’s in practice or at games to lead the team and help us be the best that we can be.”
After their perfect 5-0 homestand, O’Neill and the Knights are eager to hit the road and face quality opponents to get ready for the tough Big Ten schedule looming ahead. O’Neill thinks George Mason and Georgetown will provide that.
“We know they’re both quality teams and we know they’re going to be well coached so we expect the games to be quality matches,” he said.
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