Rutgers sweeps the weekend with consecutive 1-0 wins
No. 23 Knights knock off Cornell, No. 6 Princeton
After two consecutive 1-0 victories over Ivy League teams at home, the Rutgers field hockey team is off to its best start since 2008 when it started 6-0.
On Friday, the No. 23 Scarlet Knights (5-0) hosted Cornell, and in a game that they dominated in shots (24-3) and corners (14-0), Rutgers finally pushed a goal across with just over 5 minutes remaining in the game.
The goal came from redshirt junior forward Austyn Cuneo, who was assisted by senior midfielder and captain Linde van Schaik and sophomore midfielder Kerrie Burns off of a corner.
“We had to read the defense on that play. The way they came out, we've trained against that. My first instinct was just to go right to goal,” Cuneo said, according to scarletknights.com. “When it went in, there was a little bit of relief. At the same time, there was still pressure to play at high intensity for the last 5 minutes to maintain that lead."
Head coach Meredith Civico preached patience, and her halftime speech sure seemed to pan out.
"The message at halftime to the team was to just relax," she said. "As the game went on, we just weren't scoring, so we had to take a deep breath. We knew we needed to be more composed. On that corner, we just wanted Austyn to get a good clean strike on the ball. We did, and we scored, and it was excellent. I'm really happy that we were able to finish it off.”
The victory gave the Knights their third shutout of the season, something Civico was also very pleased about.
“Our backfield is an absolute strength,” she said. “It's been anchored by our captain Linde van Schaik, with Kerrie Burns and Daphne Groothuis up the middle. I've been really impressed by two freshmen, Abby Regn and Milena Redlingshoefer, starting at outside back, those two are not playing like freshmen. And Gianna Glatz has been outstanding in goal. We have a lot of confidence in that group."
With the shutout, sophomore goal keeper Gianna Glatz improved her goals-against average to a mere 0.55 goals against per game. Cuneo’s goal was her third of the season, which for the moment put her in a tie for most goals on the team with sophomore midfielder Daphne Groothuis.
After the game on Friday, Rutgers had a day off before hosting in-state rival and No. 6 Princeton on Sunday.
Despite the Tigers holding the advantage in shots (13-2) and corners (9-1), it was the Knights’ singular corner that netted them the game winning goal.
After a scoreless first half, Rutgers got its first corner of the game early on in the second half. Off of that corner, van Schaik inserted the ball in to Cuneo, who maneuvered around an opponent and scorched the ball into the back of the net. Cuneo’s fourth goal of the season now puts her in the lead for goals on the team.
The win over Princeton was the Knights' first win against the Tigers since 1995, and it was also Rutgers' highest ranked program win in history.
Although Princeton hammered away 11 shots in the second half, the Knights defense was true, recording their fourth shutout in five games.
“It was such a great team performance. Everyone gave 100 percent the whole game," Burns said, according to scarletknights.com. "We really did fight to the very end. We were so strong in the back, we were first to the ball every time. I think that was the key to winning the game."
Glatz, who had a 0.55 goals-against average per game before Princeton, improved her average to an incredible 0.43 GAA with a .905 save percentage on the season.
After starting 5-0, Rutgers will look to tie its previous best start to a season, which was 6-0 in 2008, as it hits the road to Ann Arbor for its first road game of the season and second consecutive against a top-10 opponent.
No. 7 Michigan has started its season 3-3 with all three of its losses coming at the hands of a ranked opponent. The Wolverines have lost to No. 1 Connecticut, No. 2 North Carolina and No. 14 Wake Forest.
The Knights, on the other hand, are 2-0 against ranked opponents thus far, and a win on the road against a top-tier Big Ten team will surely propel Rutgers to a top-10 ranking.
"This was a great win, especially coming up against a ranked team,” Glatz said. “It's awesome to win a game that's so competitive and where we played so well together. Our back line played with so much confidence, we all played as one unit. The communication was great. We play to each other's strengths and use that to our advantage."
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