Rutgers hasn’t caught up with the rest of the Big Ten in a lot of ways. But there are Scarlet Knights who have achieved some significant milestones and we’re covering them here.
A goalie for the ages
Casey Murphy missed the 2016 Rutgers season because, well, because she’s too good.
Spoiler alert: she still is. After playing on the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team at the U-20 FIFA World Cup in Papua New Guinea last year, Murphy will be back in goal for the Knights. And she was just named the top collegiate goalkeeper by Top Drawer Soccer heading into the 2017 season. Murphy was in goal in 2015 when RU made it to the Women’s College Cup.
Murphy joins five returning starters from the 2016 squad that closed last season ranked No. 25.
And honors for those still waiting to enroll
Wait, you say, Rutgers only has five starters back? Yeah, don’t worry too much. Head coach Mike O’Neill brought in a tremendous class that we covered and one of those players, Amirah Ali, is the national high school player of the year. Ali is following in Casey Murphy’s footsteps; she will be trying out for that same U-20 National Team.
Nice work, Mike!
RELEASE: Incoming freshman Amirah Ali invited to U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team camp: https://t.co/Cg6XFvkx7R— RutgersWomensSoccer (@RUWSoccer) May 17, 2017
So close...but not for honors plus All America status
The Rutgers men’s lacrosse team - which finished the season ranked No. 11 - missed the NCAA tournament. But that didn’t stop its players from getting recognized.
While it was covered earlier by OTB, it’s worth repeating: three players were selected to the All-Big Ten squad...and the best news is they are all underclassmen.
Junior Michael Rexrode was the Scarlet Knights’ top defenseman this season, recording 28 ground balls and a career-high 23 caused turnovers in 14 games. He was also a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
Max Edelmann, also a junior, was stellar in goal this season for the Scarlet Knights. He mad 143 saves for a .532 save percentage. and had an 8.91 goals-against average that was second in the Big Ten.
A freshman was the true star. Kieran Mullins had an eight-goal, nine-point performance at Michigan that earned him National Player of the Week honors. He also scored the game-winner in OT in the season finale versus No. 3 Ohio State. Mullins had 35 goals and 16 assists for 51 points, leading the team in goals and points. He was third among all NCAA freshmen in goals on the season.
And take it one step further as Rexrode also earned All American honors, placing him on the Third Team.
Track & Field to NCAA Regionals
While the results weren’t always great for the teams, there were individual performers who warranted recognition and a few of them are heading to the NCAA Regional competition next weekend at the University of Kentucky.
The men are sending six participants to the regional competition. Three seniors, a junior, and two freshmen will represent the Scarlet. Thomas Carr (javelin), Emeka Eze (long jump, triple jump) and Kyle Holder (400m hurdles) are the elders who will try to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Junior Christopher Mirabelli is coming off his second Big Ten title in the javelin while freshmen Perry Christie (high jump) and Tobi Tella (long jump) will be heading to their first NCAA competition.
The NCAA East Regional serves as the qualifier for the NCAA Championships, hosted by Oregon, at Hayward Field from June 6-10.
Three women will be heading for Lexington. Bria Saunders in the 200m, Katherine Johnston in the Javelin & Rhonda Rogombe in the High Jump will be looking to Qualifying for NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Saunders is a regional qualifier in the 200m for the second-straight season. She was a finalist in the event at the Big Ten Championships where she finished in seventh. Johnston was the runner-up in the javelin at the Big Ten Championships Her throw at the conference championships currently places her 19th in the East Region. Johnston was the Metropolitan Championship and Georgia Tech Invitational champion. Rogombe placed seventh in the high jump at the Big Ten Championships. She also won the Metropolitan Championship title and was the runner-up at the Colonial Relays in the event.
Softball Honors including 1st Team All-B1G
It was a long and disappointing season for softball. But there were some highlights, including a freshman making First Team All Big Ten. And, like lacrosse, the honors went to underclassmen.
Taryn Atlee led the team in batting average (.393, 8th in B1G), hits (66), and triples (4). Her 66 hits ranked second in the league. She is second on Rutgers all-time single-season hits record list. Atlee was also named a top 25 finalist for the 2017 Schutt Sports/NFCA National Freshman of the Year award for her efforts. She is the first to receive First Team recognition since the program joined the Big Ten.
Jacqueline Kott earned the Big Ten’s Sportsmanship award.
Who knew Rutgers was near the Great Lakes? And - truth! - Notre Dame is in the Mid-Atlantic region. Go, Big Ten!
Junior Rebecca Hall was named to the 2017 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I All-Great Lakes Region First Team. Hall posted a .364 batting average (14th best in B1G) and finished seventh in the Big Ten with a .691 slugging percentage, including 12 home runs (fourth on RU's single-season records list). Hall is the first Scarlet Knight to pick up All-Region First Team accolades since Rutgers joined the Big Ten.