No. 19 Rutgers goes back on road against Delaware
One more non-conference match to go before the Big Ten season rolls around for the Rutgers women’s soccer team. The No. 19 Scarlet Knights (5-0-1) will play Delaware on Sunday at 3 p.m. for their third straight road game of the season.
Remaining undefeated, Rutgers bounced up a couple more spots to sit No. 19 in the United Soccer Coaches poll and No. 13 from TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Last time out, the Knights ended a scoreless, double-overtime road match against in-state rival Princeton. Rutgers struggled to gain any offensive momentum at the front half of the game, but held a strong defense to keep the Tigers from scoring. A last push from both the Knights and Princeton in each overtime period saw neither of them let up the other.
With the Big Ten season on the horizon, Rutgers fans are eager for the conference title, being that Yurcak Field will be the host of the Big Ten Tournament. But, the Knights are moving forward day-by-day, and they’re only interested in playing the Blue Hens (4-2-0) at this point.
The Hens are coming off of a shutout win against Liberty at home in one of their best non-conference season records since 2010. So far, Delaware’s Alexis Montgomery, Jessica Kennett and Claudia Benz have registered multiple goals this season -- on the hunt for more at home.
Rutgers is 4-1 in its series record against the Hens with all four of those wins being in Piscataway. Despite their series record with the Knights, Delaware should not be underestimated as this will be its shot at winning back at home.
Last year, Rutgers produced a 3-0 shutout against the Hens at home.
The Knights will have some time to prep beforehand as Delaware plays La Salle on Thursday in Philadelphia before facing Rutgers on the weekend.
Players to Watch
As always, junior forwards Amirah Ali and Nneka Moneme — the dynamic duo — are the Knights’ top scorers with 4 goals each. Since coming to the Banks, Ali and Moneme know each other’s movements on the field and have great chemistry to seize every scoring opportunity. Moneme has had a breakout season of her own, already surpassing her season-high 3 goals that she recorded as a sophomore.
Who’s the one creating those scoring opportunities? Senior forward Brittany LaPlant. The Queensbury, New York, native has emerged as the mover and shaker for Rutgers, producing her first assists of her career this season. She also scored the game winner and only goal for the matchup against No. 11 Tennessee.
Not to mention, sophomore goalkeeper Meagan McClelland is one of the Big Ten’s top net-minders, saving 16 of 18 shots on goal while keeping the Knights’ opponents scoreless with 4 shutouts for the season.
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