I write these posts because I feel - as do many of our readers - that the Olympic sports are important and worth highlighting. And as I keep pointing out, the Big Ten loves all their sports.
The B1G isn’t alone. Quick side trip to the ACC where No. 5 North Carolina hosted No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 Duke over the weekend. And came away with two victories. And saw over 700 fans watch each of those games.
Field Hockey 6-3, 1-1 B1G
A weekend split may seem mundane, but it had a great finish for the Knights. After a winless Big Ten season in 2015, Rutgers held tough on the road in a loss and came back for its first 2016 conference win. And it was a good one.
Playing on the road at No. 15 Iowa, the Knights won 2-1, marking the highest ranked team ever beaten by RU.
“We did a fantastic job making adjustments and rebounding from Friday (3-2 loss at Indiana) and preparing for today,” head coach Meredith Civico said. “We had a very good training session Saturday. Our coaching staff did a phenomenal job getting our game plan right and our team executed game plan really well. There were some individuals with standout performances, but importantly every one the team did their job really well. This win is a testament to what our team is capable of as a group.”
Linde van Schaik had both goals for the Scarlet Knights. Her first goal came off a corner play, with her shot coming from the goalkeeper's left. Devon Freshnock and Sarah Regn added assists on the play.
Women’s Volleyball 4-11, 0-2 B1G
Moving into conference play, volleyball’s fortunes didn’t get any better. The Knights opened Big Ten play against No. 16 Penn State at home, dropping a 3-0 contest. Rutgers was led by junior outside hitter Meme Fletcher and senior right side Cole Trimble with seven kills each. Fifth-year senior middle blocker Mikaela Matthews followed with six kills of her own, along with two blocks.
Over the weekend, a road trip to Illinois also saw a loss to the Illini in a fairly close three set contest. The Illini claimed the sweep by set scores of 25-18, 25-15, and 25-21 on Saturday night in Champaign.
There are nine Big Ten schools currently in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week, including Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin at 1-2-3.
Men’s Soccer 0-6-1, 0-3-1 B1G
In seven games this season, the men have scored just two goals. They are winless. And while we aren’t looking for moral victories or silver linings, sometimes during a season like this you need to do just that. After taking then-No. 4 Maryland into double overtime before losing, the Knights again faced a ranked opponent, and again it was the No. 4 team in the country. With a slightly better result.
After playing 110 minutes, Rutgers finished play with No. 4 Indiana tied at 0-0 at Yurcak Field. Goalkeeper David Greczek tied his season-high with eight saves.
"I'm a little relieved to be honest because I know what our team is capable of and to perform like that for 110 minutes against a very good Indiana team, I'm very proud of them" said head coach Dan Donigan. "I'm relieved because I know that they were capable of that and I'm relieved for them because they see it now too, they understand it. It wasn't like the Maryland game, they got a result this time. Now you get a feeling of satisfaction because we did get a point, we didn't lose. Now we need to use this as continued motivation as we head into the next game on Tuesday against Florida Gulf Coast.”
The men face Florida Gulf Coast tonight at 7 pm at Yurcak Field before traveling to Madison to take on Wisconsin on Saturday night, a game that will air on BTN PLus.
Hilary Ritchie was debuting as the new head coach of tennis as the women traveled to Providence to face host Brown, along with UMass and Stony Brook. In their collegiate debuts, freshmen Katherine Muzik and Jacqueline Cochrane finished with two singles victories each to lead the Scarlet Knights in their fall season opener.
“The girls played very well in their first competition at Brown,” Ritchie said. “The teams were good and the level of competition was high, so I was pleased with our results. It was a great opportunity to see where our strengths are and where we need to improve.”
The women next travel to Annapolis on Oct. 7-9 for the Navy Invitational.
Women’s Cross Country
The women finished 32nd of 36 schools at Minnesota’s Griak Invitational. No. 30 Portland captured the invitational title with 74 points, followed by No. 9 Michigan State with 127 points and No. 13 Penn State with 147.
Sophomore Allyson Black was RU’s top finisher logging a time of 23:29 and was followed by senior Kaitlyn Bedard (24:45) and freshman Emma Bergman (24:54). Also scoring for the Scarlet Knights were freshmen Nadia Saponara (24:57) and Lou Mialhe (25:05).
The women finished tied for third in the nine team field at State College. Ashleigh Greenham finished at 217 (73-72-72) to place second, one stroke off the pace, in the 61-player Nittany Lion Invitational. The redshirt sophomore helped the Scarlet Knights tie for third with a 912 (304-311-297) total in the nine-team event.
“The team came out this morning ready to compete and it showed in our scoring,” said head coach Kari Williams. “We managed ourselves well on the course and it led to a third place finish. We had two great individual finishes this week in Ashleigh and Emily (Mills), following up her win last week. We will continue building and moving in the right direction.”
Rutgers men’s golf finished play at the Windon Memorial Classic, placing 14th of 14 teams in the field.
For the second-straight tournament, freshman Tony Jiang led RU as he finished tied for 45th with a 228 (74-76-78). Jiang had three birdies in the third round, including two on the back nine.