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Rutgers splits pair of weekend home matches

<p>Senior captain Jenn Staab said communication was key to the team’s win versus Lafayette.</p>

Senior captain Jenn Staab said communication was key to the team’s win versus Lafayette.

After a blowout loss Friday afternoon, the Rutgers field hockey team rebounded yesterday against Lafayette with a 2-1 home win.

In the first half, the Scarlet Knights started off strong with two goals.

Junior forward Nicole Imbriaco, assisted by sophomore midfielder Alyssa Bull, scored the first goal within three minutes of the game starting. Rutgers scored again when sophomore defender Devon Freshnock earned the first goal of her career on an assist from junior forward Katie Champion.

After a late goal by Kendall Weedling, the Leopards cut the lead in half with 15 seconds remaining in the first half. 

In the second half, no one was able to break through offensively once again. Freshnock’s goal turned out to be the game winner for the Knights.

“It was really exciting,” Freshnock said of scoring the goal. “We practice corners everyday. I just finished really well.”

The difference between the two weekend games was that Rutgers better executed its game plan thanks to a stout defensive effort and organization.

“Our team defense was way more organized,” said head coach Meredith Long. “We focused more on our playing structure. We really knew that we had to work off the ball to get good passing lanes. We were able to create space and possess the ball the first 10 minutes, which was a huge focus.”

Senior midfielder and captain Jenn Staab expressed similar remarks. 

“We were more composed this game, and we really communicated well to help us get the win,” said Staab.

Rutgers looked to capitalize on a hot start to its season on Friday at home, but the Knights fell by a score of 6-1 to Temple.

The game started off rough for the Knights as they went down 3-0 in the first 12 minutes of the game and were consistently unable to get anything started offensively.

The first goal of the game was scored 76 seconds in and from then on, the Owls continued to roll with a full head of steam. 

Going into the half, Rutgers trailed, 4-1, with the lone goal coming off the stick of Imbriaco.

For much of the game on defense, the Knights struggled mightily. 

“Defensively, we had some breakdowns,” Long said.  “We were a bit loose on our defensive play inside the circle, which led to goals.”

The second half was more of the same story, with Temple adding two more goals to assert its dominance over the Knights.

Tricia Light led the Owls with three goals. Alyssa Delp, Nicole Kroener and Rachael Mueller each added one goal. 

The Knights held the advantage in shots, 19-16, but weren’t able to capitalize on their opportunities. 

The three early goals put a burden on Rutgers.

“Temple [putting] three goals in really puts a pressure on us and our attack,” Long said. “We lost sight of our buildup play. We were desperate with our attack.”

For updates on the Rutgers field hockey team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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