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Rutgers takes one win over weekend

This Friday and Sunday, the Rutgers field hockey team took on Indiana on Friday and No. 8 Northwestern on Sunday. Friday ended in success for the No. 19 Scarlet Knights (6-6, 1-3). It was a hard-fought battle down to the last minute, when Rutgers scored the final goal for a 3-2 game score, but Sunday was a tough loss. 

The Wildcats (11-5, 3-1) brought another tough battle to Piscataway on Sunday, but the game ended in a 4-1 loss for the Knights. 

The game started off heated with several tough calls, and that continued throughout the game. In the first quarter, Northwestern was able to score with 30 seconds left in the quarter, taken by the Wildcats' Bente Baekers.

Baekers has 19 goals for this season alone. The next highest number is from Saar de Breij with 7 for this season. Baekers is keeping Northwestern alive on her own, which shouldn’t make Rutgers worry too much. Baekers was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times in a span of four weeks, which just goes to show how much of an impact she has on the team by herself.

In the first quarter, the Wildcats were able to nab three shots, while the Knights followed close behind with two shots. Only one of Northwestern’s shots were on goal, while none of Rutgers' were on goal.

The second quarter ended slightly differently, since the Knights was able to make a goal. It was junior midfielder Katie Larmour that made her fifth goal of the season, which now puts her in the lead for Rutgers.

It was another assist from fifth-year senior back Austyn Cuneo that pushed Larmour ahead, who follows right behind Larmour in goals scored. Cuneo has totaled five assists for this season, and continued to help the team out in this game.

With some tough calls throughout the entirety of the game, the Knights began to heat up. The Wildcats ended the game with six corners, while Rutgers had three to finish. 

While it would be easy to blame the referees, it wasn’t the only problem. In the second half, the Knights were worked up and began pressuring Northwestern more, which then caused more calls. The spiraling effect had an impact on the team until the last minute of the game.

With 3 minutes left in the final quarter, junior goalkeeper Gianna Glatz was subbed out for junior midfielder Gracey Butsack, which left an open goal. Even in the first move that Butsack made, she was longing for a call for their benefit. 

Even with less than 2 minutes in the game, the Wildcats had an opportunity for a penalty stroke, which was caused by an intentional penalty in the penalty circle. It was that goal that ensured a win for Northwestern. 

The game had a fast and strong dynamic between the two teams, and it appeared as if both teams were ranked right next to each other. Rutgers consistently holds up against top tier teams in the conference and the league, which bodes well for their future.

This season has been back and forth when it comes to wins and losses for the Knights. They had won against the Hoosiers (4-9, 1-5) two days prior to this game, and they had also defeated UC Davis in the week prior, but in that same week, there was a loss in the Big Ten conference.

Rutgers is on the cusp of greatness, and they have a delicate balance between winning and losing. Every game, the Knights are ready and prepared for the challenge, but something seems to stand in their way.

Their roster is dynamite, with players like Glatz, Cuneo, Larmour and true freshman forward Rachel Houston, but the list doesn’t stop there. Each player has had very high peaks this season, like Butsack making the winning goal at No. 6 Princeton. This just goes to show how important each player is to the team, and it would be hard if one piece of the puzzle was missing.

When it comes to stats, the team’s numbers line up to their opponents every time. In this case, Rutgers has a .136 shot percentage, while the Wildcats came in with a .222. These numbers make sense because of how highly they are ranked, but Northwestern have these numbers lying on the back of Baekers. 

The Knights need to look ahead to teams that play as a unit. For its next game, Rutgers heads to Columbus, Ohio, for a match against No. 18 Ohio State for the closest ranked game this season.

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

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