No. 15 Rutgers takes on No. 2 Maryland this weekend
For the first time in program history, the Rutgers field hockey team received a No. 15 national ranking, its highest ever. The ranking comes after the Scarlet Knights (8-3, 1-3) defeated their third ranked team of the season with a win over No. 19 Delaware, 2-1.
This weekend, Rutgers will play a pair of games, one home and one away. First, on Friday the Knights will face their biggest test of the season, as they travel to College Park to take on No. 2 Maryland.
At 12-0 on the season, the Terrapins have eight wins over ranked opponents. They also have wins over Michigan and Ohio State, who Rutgers has lost to.
Coming off of Sunday’s win over the Blue Hens, momentum is certainly something the Knights will need to topple Maryland.
“We can look to take this momentum into Friday's game against Maryland," said head coach Meredith Civico.
In their last game, the Terrapins played No. 3 Connecticut (10-1), and handed the team its first loss of the season with a convincing 4-2 victory in Storrs, Conn. The game against Rutgers will be Maryland’s fifth straight ranked opponent.
On the season, the Terrapins have outscored opponents 46-18. They also have taken 80 corners to their opponents 24, and are outshooting opponents 218-91. The Knights on the other hand are outscoring opponents 34-13 and outshooting them 162-105.
Maryland is led by a pair of prolific goal scorers on the season. Defender Nike Lorenz has 9 goals in nine games played, while forward Linnea Gonzales has 10 goals on the year. The Terrapins also have two other players with 6 goals each, which is what Rutgers’ top scorer — sophomore midfielder Daphne Groothuis — has on the season.
Groothuis has been excellent this season, leading the Knights in nearly every offensive category. Along with goals scored, she leads Rutgers in assists (nine), points (21), shots (40) and shots on goal (25).
Junior forward Austyn Cuneo has also played well with 5 goals on the season and ranks second behind Groothuis with 35 shots and 23 shots on goal.
After the game on Friday, Rutgers will travel back to Piscataway for a Sunday afternoon non conference game against Georgetown (8-3).
At 8-3 on the season heading in to this weekend of games, the Knights just need one win to match last seasons win total. Two wins would give them 10 on the season, something the program has not achieved since 2008, when it won 14 games.
But, the real test will be in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, and whether or not Rutgers can play well enough to earn themselves a bid in to the NCAA Tournament.
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