Rutgers downs Hofstra for 5th straight win at home
Three goals. Two minutes.
That’s all the Rutgers women’s soccer team needed to seal the win against Hofstra.
For its last home game at Yurcak Field, the Scarlet Knights (5-0) weren’t even on the board after the first half. By the end, Rutgers ran away with a 4-1 lead against the Pride.
The Knights tried to take control of the ball early on with a powerful offense, leaving the defense to fend for multiple players at a time when the ball came back around to them. Not able to defend Hofstra well, Rutgers fell through the first half.
“We came off with a slow start,” said head coach Mike O’Neill. “Maybe some things that we did really well, we did not do in the first half. We stood still because we talk about getting better all the time and in the first half, we stayed the same a little bit.”
That all changed when senior forward Brittany LaPlant launched the ball midfield to junior forward Nneka Moneme. Running through a wide open field, Moneme went head to head with the Pride's goalie and scored at the start of the second half to tie up the game.
Sophomore defender Shea Holland scored into the corner at the 71st minute for her first career goal. Less than a minute later, freshman forward Emily Harrigan snuck in between a triangle of Pride players for her first career goal as well.
“It’s definitely a feeling I won’t forget because I worked hard for it,” Harrigan said on her first career goal. “My teammates were able to set me up to put me in the back of the goal, so it was nice to be able to celebrate that with them too.”
Although not sinking a goal of her own, LaPlant was a catalyst in creating open opportunities for the Knights. She assisted 3 of the 4 goals Rutgers scored that night.
“In the second half, we raised the level,” O’Neill said. “We scored three goals in that short period of time and good goals. It says a lot about the team.”
Unfortunately, senior defender Chantelle Swaby was down with 34 minutes left in the game and had to be walked off the field with the help of some of the athletic trainers. It looked like Swaby injured her left knee, but it's still unclear what her status is for the rest of the season.
Marking the Knights last five home-game stint, Rutgers remains undefeated heading into the last non-conference matchups before conference season begins back at home.
But, O’Neill and the rest of the team isn’t focused on the Big Ten just yet.
“We take one game at a time, and the main goal right here is we make sure the players get some rest and get ready for Princeton," he said.