August 25, 2019 | 77° F

RU earns high rank in first RPI

With individual awards arriving at a premium this season, the Rutgers women’s soccer team has finally garnered some recognition as a team.

The first RPI of the season was released Tuesday and the Scarlet Knights found themselves rated 12th nationally.

“It was pretty cool to find that out, even though it’s only the first one,” said senior forward Jonelle Filigno. “Now we just want to keep that going, especially now that we are heading into conference play.”

The RPI accounts a team’s wins and losses, strength of schedule and its opponents’ strength of schedule.

“We have worked hard and deserve something like this,” said sophomore defender Brianne Reed.

Despite the relatively high ranking, the Knights (7-1-1) are still not ranked in the coaches’ poll.

If Rutgers is successful in its next few matches, it should be in good standing when the next polls come out.

The Knights begin their AAC schedule Friday at Cincinnati and then Sunday at Louisville.

Currently enjoying a three-match winning streak, Reed believes few major changes are necessary.

“We just need to keep playing the way we have been playing,” Reed said. “The coaches have been continually telling us to keep executing the plan.”

It has paid off for the most part this season, giving this team an aggressive identity on both sides of the ball.

Their success has been evident by the individual recognition thus far.

Junior forward Stephanie Scholz was named to this week’s AAC Weekly Honor Roll after her game-winning goal Friday in the Knights’ 2-1 victory against Villanova. The league has awarded five Knights this season.

Like many of her teammates have done before, Scholz was quick to praise her teammates rather than praise herself.

“I can’t take all of the credit. Everyone played really well over the weekend,” Scholz said. “Villanova was a truly a team victory.”

For now the team will focus on continuing its recent success, and the biggest challenge for Rutgers will be the amount of travel it will experience.

Rutgers has not been away from Yurcak Field since the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic earlier this month, and the Knights will bus directly from Cincinnati to Louisville.

“We are really looking forward to playing this weekend, even though we’ll be traveling for much of it,” Filigno said. “The team has a lot of confidence in our play. We are staying positive and continuing to make progress in training.”

For updates on the women’s soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

By Jim Mooney

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