Knights take win streak into AAC play
Halfway though the season, the Rutgers women’s soccer team has put itself into good position as the team begins conference play tonight.
The Scarlet Knights (7-1-1) currently hold the best AAC record, but by only a half game over Memphis.
After a successful three-game home stand in which the Knights won all three games, the team now hits the road. Rutgers faces Cincinnati (4-6) tonight and then Louisville (4-3-1) on Sunday.
“Even though it’s going to be a lot of travel, we just need to play our game and execute the game plan,” said sophomore defender Brianne Reed.
History is in Rutgers’ favor for both games, as the Knights have been relatively successful recently against the Bearcats and Cardinals.
Rutgers is 4-0-1 in its last five games against Cincinnati and has only allowed one goal in those matches.
The Bearcats enter the game riding a three-match winning streak, outscoring opponents, 6-1, over that stretch of games.
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Natalie Smith has been tough in goal throughout Cincinnati’s winning streak.
Smith has improved to 3-3 in goal and lowered her goals against average to 1.17 on the season.
Defensively, the Knights will be looking to take away Cincinnati’s crossing passes, which have given the Bearcats some success this season.
“This week in practice we’ve been doing a lot of man-watching in the box in order to stop Cincinnati’s crosses on runs,” said junior forward Stefanie Scholz. “They are known for their crosses on offense.”
In Sunday’s matchup, the Knights must find a way to stop Louisville senior forward Charlyn Corral.
Corral is second in the conference in goals scored with seven and is also tied for first in the conference with 18 points.
The Cardinals look to bounce back from a tough loss in double overtime last weekend to Marquette.
Rutgers should have another favorable matchup with Louisville, as the Knights have outscored the Cardinals, 7-2, in the last three games between the teams and hold a 5-2-1 advantage all-time.
Offensively, Scholz will be a player to watch, as she has been one of the hottest players in the conference over the last two weeks.
Scholz has scored six goals in three games, including a four-goal outburst against in-state rival Princeton.
Senior forward Jonelle Filigno and freshman midfielder Madison Tiernan will also look to generate chances for the Knights.
Tiernan is currently on a three-match scoring streak and has also been one of the better freshmen in the conference this season.
Filigno has been one of Rutgers’ leaders — despite the lack of the captain’s title — and has also been one of the top scoring threats for the Knights.
She was also injured in last week’s game against Villanova but plans to play through the injury.
“I’m going to fight through it, especially this being my last season with my team,” Filigno said. “We’re just going to give this weekend everything we have.”
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