Rutgers aspires to remain undefeated
The Rutgers women’s soccer team looks to continue its shutout streak on Thursday when it makes the short trip to face in-state rival Princeton.
The stout defense will be put to the test against the Tigers (2-0), who average four goals per game.
As the No. 22 Scarlet Knights look to push their record to 5-0 for the first time in school history, they realize they are in for a tough matchup that will challenge their streak.
“This game and the out-of-conference schedule in general, is so important because it prepares us to play against some of the top teams in the country,” head coach Mike O’Neill told the Targum. “It gives us a chance to look at the areas that we need to improve upon and figure out how we’re going to use our players and our depth. These games early on are very important for success and development.”
The Knights are still searching for ways to capitalize on their dominant ball possession through their first few matches.
While they have controlled the ball and recorded double-digit shots in each game, they admittedly are hoping to score some more and earlier in games to take pressure off their defense.
They say they believe this will come, however, through more practice and game action that allows for more time to mesh and increase the comfort with each other.
“I like our team a lot and like how we are playing right now,” O’Neill said. “We just need to get a little bit better at the details. We’re doing better with keeping possessions, we’re creating chances and now the last piece of the puzzle is finishing the chances that we create … I like where we are but we need to improve in that area of the field.”
These past few matches have each seen someone different score the decisive goal to lead Rutgers to victory.
Dating back to the 1-0 victory over Hofstra at the Penn State Tournament over a week ago, junior forward Jenna Seddon scored her first career goal to lead the Knights to the win.
In their first home game at Yurcak Field, freshman midfielder Katelyn Walters scored the lone goal in the 1-0 triumph.
Sunday’s hero was sophomore Colby Ciarrocca, who gave the Knights the 1-0 win with her goal in the 84th minute.
It does not matter much to Rutgers who does the scoring, as they remain a cohesive unit that puts nearly all of their emphasis in practices and games on overall team play.
“As long as we are winning, we are happy with whoever is scoring,” Ciarrocca said. “Going into Princeton, we are looking to get another win on the road against a local team, and I think it should be a really good game. We’re all looking forward to it.”
Senior forward Cassie Inacio knows that Princeton is a tough opponent after being a part of many battles with the Tigers through her years with the Knights.
Coming off a strong game in which she helped assist on Ciarrocca’s goal, she knows that she and her teammates will need another top performance to leave Princeton with another victory in tow.
“We want to win and go 5-0,” Inacio said. “We need to keep building and getting better to get where we want to be at the end of the year, and the Princeton game is a big step towards that against another New Jersey team.”
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