It’s finally time for the Rutgers women’s soccer team’s real tests to begin as the Big Ten schedule starts at home Friday night 7 p.m.
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It’s finally time for the Rutgers women’s soccer team’s real tests to begin as the Big Ten schedule starts at home Friday night 7 p.m.
It’s extremely difficult to replace a star player in any sport, and in every case except a few rare instances, the newcomer falters. Time and time again, the expectations are simply too high and the fans start calling for the replacement’s head, reminiscing about the good ole days they had watching their favorite player before this new one ruined the team. There has been no such nostalgia among the Rutgers women’s soccer team faithful, however, as redshirt senior Alana Jimenez has done a commendable job in net as the successor to All-American goal keeper Casey Murphy. Murphy, who would be entering her junior season for Rutgers, was offered to play on the Under-20 U.S.
On the eve of Rutgers’ first home football game, all eyes were on Yurcak Field as the Rutgers women’s soccer team took on Cornell. After a defeat at the hands of Georgetown that broke the Scarlet Knights’ streak of 18 straight home game matches without a loss, it was of paramount importance for the squad to earn a win. Although the final score was 2-0 in Rutgers’ favor, at halftime it didn’t look like it would go that way."We talk so much about confidence and playing with purpose," said head coach Mike O'Neill.
With expectations extremely high coming into this year, the Rutgers women's soccer team got off to a bumpy start as they look to match and exceed the feats of 2015.Currently ranked 23rd in the country in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, Rutgers has amassed three wins, one loss and one draw in the early part of the campaign.
Senior defenders Brianne Reed and Erica Skroski, who led Rutgers to the best goals-against-average in the country (.375) and an undefeated home record (13-0-1) last season, were selected 18th and 23rd, respectively, in the 2016 NWSL Draft.
The Rutgers women’s soccer team had the opportunity to make their dream season even more magical by advancing to the College Cup for the first time in program history, but to be able to leave such an emphatic mark in the history book, it had a tall task in their way.
Any team can set numerous goals at the start of the season, but it takes a special team to then achieve all of them.The 2015 Rutgers women’s soccer team did all of that and more this season.Under the tutelage of second-year head coach Mike O’Neill, the Scarlet Knights finished the 2015 campaign with a 19-4-3 overall record and 7-2-2 mark in the Big Ten.To start the year, they won their first eight games, which set a new school record.They went undefeated on their home field at Yurcak Field, stressing the importance of winning in Piscataway and achieving a 13-0-1 mark in games played on the Banks.The Knights then set the school’s single season record for shutouts with 19, surpassing the 2006 team’s previous record of 16.
It was a long and historic run for the No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer team this season, with the Scarlet Knights reaching the national semifinals of the Women’s College Cup for the first time in program history.The run ended on Friday evening, however, when they squared off against No. 6 Penn State for the third time this season — this time with a spot in the National Championship Game on the line.Unfortunately for the Knights (19-4-3, 7-2-2), the match played out in similar fashion to their loss against the Nittany Lions in the Big Ten Championship game.
It’s funny how things can sometimes turn out in sports.After already playing against each other twice this season, the No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer team will meet No. 6 Penn State in the semifinals of the College Cup on Friday in Cary, North Carolina.The Scarlet Knights (19-3-3, 7-2-2) beat the Nittany Lions (20-3-2, 8-2-1) at home at Yurcak Field on October 18th by a score of 1-0.The two teams then met in the Big Ten Championship game at Penn State’s Jeffrey Field, where the Nittany Lions controlled the game and won 2-0.The rubber match holds the highest stakes of the three matchups, as it will determine who gets to play either No. 2 Florida State or No. 20 Duke in the national championship game.“We’re excited for the opportunity to be in the College Cup,” said head coach Mike O’Neill.
It’s been a long season for the No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer team, but the Scarlet Knights wouldn’t want it any other way.While the athletic department and football team are undergoing changes following its season, the Knights (19-3-3, 7-2-2) on the pitch are preparing for their biggest game in team history.They are set to face Big Ten foe Penn State in the College Cup semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, which will serve as a veritable rubber-match after both teams have split the first two games against each other this season.As they get ready to head down to Cary, North Carolina, for the game, Rutgers reflected this week on the toughness and endurance they have showed throughout the season and in their upset victory in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals over No. 1 Virginia.
It seemed like the No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer team was destined to suffer the same fate that has haunted them the last two seasons against No. 1 Virginia.After the Cavaliers (19-1-3, 9-1) knocked the Scarlet Knights (19-3-3, 7-2-2) out of the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons, they looked as if they were on the verge of a trifecta by controlling the possession for most of this year’s quarterfinal matchup.But the 2015 version of the Knights are a different group, and weren’t about to let Virginia end their season for a third straight year.Rutgers advanced to their first Women’s College Cup in school history by traveling to Charlottesville and defeating Virginia on the road in penalty kicks, 7-6, after both teams played to a draw in regulation and two overtime periods.It is the first time the women’s soccer program has ever reached the national semifinals, and the first team at Rutgers to do so since the 2007 women’s basketball team.“It’s a pretty special feeling, and we all recognize the significance of what this team has accomplished,” said head coach Mike O’Neill.
Playing at your best at the most crucial time of the year — the post-season — is what coaches aim for in most sports.The pre-season is used to begin preparations for the regular season slate.
PISCATAWAY — The No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer team isn’t quite ready for its historic season to end just yet.After beating Hofstra, 2-0, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night, the Scarlet Knights returned to Yurcak Field on Sunday to face No. 18 Connecticut in the Sweet 16.It didn’t take long for them to carry over their momentum from Friday into Sunday’s match.The No. 2-seeded Knights (19-3-2, 7-2-2) came out with the offensive firepower they felt was missing from their first round victory over Fairleigh Dickinson and scored two first half goals in a 4-0 win over the Huskies.Both of their wins over Hofstra and Connecticut marked the second time they have beaten each team this season.After a rainy Thursday soaked the pitch at Yurcak Field for the weekend, the Knights were still able to gain traction and push the tempo on offense in both games.In a record-breaking season for the Knights, they added another one to the list by becoming the first team in program history to advance to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals with the win.It is a major accomplishment for Rutgers, which is the first team in program history to get this far.“I feel blessed,” said head coach Mike O’Neill.
Surviving and advancing is one of the notable mantras used to describe how teams approach tournament-style play.The No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer team (17-3-2, 7-2-2) pointed right to that old adage following its 1-0 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last Friday.The Scarlet Knights felt they did not play as aggressively as they wanted to, but were satisfied to leave their home fans at Yurcak Field with a tournament victory.The team now returns home Friday night to play Hofstra in the second round of the NCAA Tournament looking to be more assertive in its offensive attack for the next game.“Our team is good.
PISCATAWAY — On Friday the 13th, there was nothing unusual from the No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer team as they opened NCAA Tournament play at their home Yurcak Field.The Scarlet Knights (17-3-2, 7-2-2) hosted in-state rival Fairleigh Dickinson and exhibited their defensive prowess throughout the contest, along with timely scoring.
Looking to put the loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Championship game behind it quickly, the No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer team is set to host Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.The Scarlet Knights (16-3-2, 7-2-2) enter the tournament as a No. 2 seed, the highest in program history.Their strong play throughout the year led the NCAA committee to tab them with the honor of the high seed.
A loss in such a high magnitude game like the Big Ten Championship game could have potentially damaging effects for a team, but the No. 7 Rutgers women’s soccer team plans to put the loss behind them as quickly as possible.After all, the game represented its one truly flat performance of the season, a year in which it has already broken many school records.Going into the championship game, the Scarlet Knights (16-3-2, 7-3-2) were riding their longest unbeaten streak in school history – ten games – having gone 8-0-2 during the stretch.Their 16 wins are tied with the 2006 team for the most in school history, and they can break the record with an NCAA Tournament victory on Friday.Though Sunday’s loss was a tough one for the Knights, they know they have to move past it quickly and are looking at their season as a whole to build some confidence heading into the NCAA Tournament.“The players always want more and to do better, which is all we can really ask for as coaches,” said head coach Mike O’Neill.
The move to the Big Ten just two short years ago brought much fanfare and attention to Rutgers.Heading to such a high-profile athletic conference was sure to be a major move for the school, and the Scarlet Knights got their first taste of a championship game in the conference Sunday afternoon.But the No. 7 Rutgers women’s soccer team did not get the result it was hoping for as it was beaten by No. 9 Penn State, 2-0, in the Big Ten Championship game at Jeffrey Field in State College, Pennsylvania.The Scarlet Knights (16-3-2, 7-3-2) entered the game as the No. 3 seed in the tournament and could never gain any momentum after a pair of early goals from the No. 1 seed Nittany Lions (16-3-2, 9-2-1).Penn State controlled the ball from the start, showing an aggressive offensive attack against a Rutgers defense which has been among the best in the country all season long.In the ninth minute, Elizabeth Ball scored off a corner kick from Nickolette Dreiesse to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead.It highlighted the one area in which the Knights have struggled this season — defending set pieces.Sophomore goalkeeper Casey Murphy made a big save in 20th minute when she came out of net to catch a long-distance shot from Penn State.But in the 26th minute, Emily Ogle got one past Murphy after a Rutgers turnover and gave the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead with a strike from 18 yards out.
For a team filled with talent and high expectations, the No. 7 Rutgers women’s soccer team has been able focus in on each game throughout the season as if it were the most important one on the schedule.The program navigated a tricky non-conference schedule, headlined by a victory over then-No. 20 Connecticut, then posted a 7-2-2 conference record in the Big Ten.The Scarlet Knights now enter the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament with a 15-2-2 overall record, having gone unbeaten in their last nine games (7-0-2).As they prepare to play an Ohio State team which they already defeated by a 2-0 score a few weeks ago, the Knights remain excited about their postseason prospects and keep the historic ride going.“We try to do a good job with scouting reports and making sure that the players are always prepared,” said head coach Mike O’Neill.
Training begins early in the year well before games approach, with technique and conditioning being at the forefront of these early sessions.Preseason and exhibition games come next before the regular season gets underway, and then the hard work can come to fruition by qualifying for the postseason.The No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer team has gone through a rigorous training schedule and Big Ten slate throughout the season, but are seeing their efforts pay off with their best performances of the year at the right time.After navigating through the regular season with a 15-2-2 record and 8-2-2 conference record, the Scarlet Knights are trying to keep the same focused mentality that has allowed them to be so successful.“When you’re driving to a stadium, and it’s playoff soccer, it’s a different drive,” said head coach Mike O’Neill.