Filigno gives leadership to young roster

With a wealth of experience, senior forward Jonelle Filigno can teach quite a bit to the younger members of the Rutgers women’s soccer team.

Filigno has been one of the Scarlet Knights’ leaders as they continue to mesh a combination of youth and experience.

“I was intimidated by her at first. She’s the face of Rutgers women’s soccer,” said freshman midfielder Madison Tiernan.“I’ve learned so much from her, and she has made me a much better player this season.”

The Knights’ rookies have the unique opportunity to learn from someone who has been around the college game for five years.

She also has an Olympic medal to validate her corrections to the younger players.

Filigno won a bronze medal in 2012 with the Canadian National Team at the London Olympics. The Mississauga, Canada, native showed off some of her heroics when she scored the game-winning goal against Great Britain to advance Canada to the semi-finals.

Freshman forward Jessica Puchalski sees that success in the way Filigno has played so far this season.

“Just watching, I can learn so much from her,” Puchalski said. “She is such an intelligent player.”

This season Filigno is second on the team in points (13) and goals scored (5). She has also demonstrated her ability to score in the clutch.

Filigno leads the team in game-winning goals with four this season, with her clincher Friday against Cincinnati giving her the most in program history. Her goal in the 42nd minute in the Knights’ 1-0 victory against the Bearcats gave her 16-career game winners, putting her ahead of former Knights’ Carli Lloyd and Kris Kurzynowski.

“It is pretty cool to have a record like that,” Filigno said. “Although I can’t take all of the credit, because my teammates were the ones who set me up for most of those goals, so I definitely have to thank them as well.”

Filigno relishes the opportunity to share her knowledge of the game with some of the younger players such as Tiernan.

“I’m someone who the younger players will come up to and just ask questions about what is going on,” Filigno said. “Honestly I’ve learned so much from them as we work off of each other and take things from each others’ games.”

Right now, Rutgers needs to return to winning after Louisville snapped the Knights’ four-game winning streak Sunday in Rutgers’ 4-1 loss.

The Knights currently sit fourth in the AAC after the first weekend of conference play, but it is Filigno has not seen before.

“We just need to regroup and continue to focus on our game,” Filigno said. “A lot of the goals we allowed Sunday came from our mistakes. We have to learn from those mistakes and take that information into our preparation for this weekend.”

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