Rutgers drops 2 road games to UConn, St.Joe's
The Rutgers field hockey team headed over to Storrs, Connecticut and Philadelphia to face off against No. 4 UConn and No. 17 Saint Joseph's, coming away with its first two losses of the season. The No. 19 Scarlet Knights were shut out by the Huskies on Friday night, and finished up the road trip with a loss in Philadelphia.
The first period was a slow one for both teams with most of the action either team seeing was from substitutions. Neither team was able to take the lead in the first quarter, but the Huskies (3-0) made three shots on goal.
Junior goalkeeper Gianna Glatz has shown time and time again that she can take any kind of pressure another team hands her. She faced 21 shots and 11 of them on goal.
The second period is when things started to ramp up for UConn. Within the first 5 minutes of the second period, the Huskies got the first goal of the game.
In the final period, UConn continued to show its toughness and had two shots. In the final 45 seconds of the game, Sophie Hamilton scored to put the Huskies up 2-0.
Fifth-year senior back Austyn Cuneo posed three shots with one on goal.
Sophomore forward Clayre Smith was another force for UConn. Smith put three shots up, two of which were on goal. She had gone under the radar these past two games and came to play when the team really needed her help.
Two days later, Rutgers went on another road trip, this time to Philadelphia to take on another ranked team, Saint Joseph's. The game marked the third ranked opponent in four games that the Knights have faced.
The Hawks (3-0) opened the scoring early in the first quarter when Jordan Olenginski scored on a breakaway opportunity.
It wouldn't be until the fourth quarter for Rutgers to tie the game. Cuneo, the team's leading goal scorer, got on the board with her fourth goal of the season, scoring on a corner shot in the 45th minute.
But, Saint Joseph's would immediately break the tie a short 5 minutes after Cuneo's goal. Kacie Patton tallied the game-winning goal, tapping the ball past Glatz to give the Hawks their third win of the season.
While the Knights lost their second consecutive game, they did have a 13-12 shots advantage, nine of which were on goal.
This weekend's loss marks the ninth time that Rutgers has come up short against Saint Joseph's. Conversely, the Hawks have historically been an opponent the Knights have defeated, winning 19 of the all-time meetings.
"Today's loss was frustrating. We did not connect as a team and a very good St. Joe's team took full advantage of that," said head coach Meredith Civico after the loss to the Hawks.
Rutgers returns home this Friday to take on No. 16 Delaware in a matinee meeting. The Blue Hens (4-0) come into this game having defeated an opponent the Knights have grown accustomed to: No. 9 Penn State.
Delaware upset the Nittany Lions in a game where it outshot the Big Ten team 15-3. Penn State opened the scoring 9 minutea in, but Lotte de Koning would break open the scoring for the Hens, who never looked back.
Femke Strien paces Delaware with 5 goals on the season, including an insurance score against the Lions. The junior from the Netherlands scored twice against American and Miami this season while registering one assist for 11 points on the season.
Strien isn't the only Dutch native on the team. Four other players are also from the Netherlands, including Lotte de Kooning, who is second on the team with 1 goal and 4 points.
The Netherlands connection runs through head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof. Through nine seasons in Newark, De Kerkhof has captured a national championship in 2016.
De Kerkhof's first job was at Michigan State, where he guided the Spartans to a Big Ten championship in 2009, his third year in the United States as a head coach.
The last time Rutgers hosted the Hens was last September, with the Knights winning that game 2-1. Glatz made five saves in the early season win.
Historically, Delaware has been the better team, winning 19 games in the all-time series. The team last won in August of 2011 at home.
This Friday's game will be the first road game for the Hens, who have won all of their four games in Newark, Delaware. In that span, they have held opponents to 2 goals on 16 shot attempts this season. For Rutgers, creating shots early and controlling the face-offs is key to breaking through the Hens' defense.
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