Rutgers comes out of weekend with 2 important conference victories

The Rutgers field hockey team has been finishing this season off with a bang. Last Friday, the No. 18 Scarlet Knights (10-6, 4-3) defeated Michigan, which would be their second-highest ranked win in Rutgers history. Then on Sunday, the Knights took on Temple and came out with another victory.

Starting off with the game against the Wolverines (13-4, 5-2), which was the program’s first-ever win over the team, Rutgers took a clear lead and shut out Michigan for the rest of the game. It ended in a 3-0 win for the Knights, and had a lot to do with their defense.

This game was like no other this season because Rutgers was able to keep the Wolverines from only attempting one shot on goal for the whole match. On the other hand, the Knights were able to take six shots, and each one of them was on goal.

Overall, this game had a clear winner from the beginning, since Rutgers’ confidence has sky-rocketed during play. Each goal was scored by a different player, with the first being made by junior midfielder Katie Larmour. The second was from fifth-year senior back Austyn Cuneo, and the last goal was made by junior back Kerrie Burns.

Cuneo and Larmour have already had their fair share of goals this season with 14 between the two of them, while this was Burns’ fourth goal of the season.

Moving onto the game against the Owls (6-9, 2-4), this was a closer contest even though Temple isn't ranked. The only goal that was scored was by Cuneo in the final 9 minutes of the game, which is a surprising point.

This was another blowout for the Knights, though. For this game alone, Rutgers had 19 shots and 11 shots on goal, which is an enormous gap between the one shot that the Owls made in the entire game.

Temple's goalkeeper, Cristina Carotenuto, had her work cut out for her, and she was able to hold the Knights back for almost the whole game. Carotenuto made 10 saves out of the 11 shots on goal, which was an incredible feat considering the pressure Rutgers was putting on the Owls offensively.

The Knights decided to play senior goalkeeper Amanda Lamb instead of the usual junior goalkeeper Gianna Glatz. Lamb only had to make one save for the game and had a slow day for the rest of it. 

Temple didn’t even have any penalty corner opportunities, so Lamb didn’t have much of an action-packed game. Rutgers ended the game with 14 corners, but Carotenuto was solid in goal. 

Throughout the game, there were two leaders in shots and they came from Cuneo and freshman fullback Rachel Houston. Houston has especially started to shine in her first season as a Knight. Of her five shots, four of them were on goal, which can be compared to Cuneo’s five shots and only two on goal. 

Houston has made significant progress since the beginning of the season. With only one regular season game left, there is still time for her to show how much of an impact she can have on this team.

With the Penn State game ending the regular season for Rutgers, the event will be something that the Knights can confidently walk into. The Nittany Lions are 3-4 in the conference and 4-11 on the season.

“We knew it was going to be physical,” said head coach Meredith Civico after the win against Michigan. “We knew we had to execute on set pieces, and I think the coaching staff and the assistant coaches do an amazing job on attack penalty corner and defensive penalty corners. So I think our preparation was key. I was so pleased with the team, really the whole team all week, from the freshmen to the underclassmen to the starting group.”

Rutgers will play its last regular season game against Penn State on Sunday, Nov. 3 at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex. This game comes just before the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 7.

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

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