The #13th ranked Rutgers field hockey team is peaking at the perfect time, as they won its fifth straight contest on Sunday in the regular season finale. After defeating #7 Iowa on Friday, the Scarlet Knights were able to outlast American (7-7) as star Daphne Groothuis scored the game winner in overtime. It was her team best 12th goal of the season, which is the seventh most in program history. It was also an NCAA best ninth shutout for Rutgers, who finished the regular season at 13-4, including 4-4 Big Ten play.
After the victory, head coach Meredith Civico said, “I’m really pleased with how the team battled. We knew that it would be a tough game. We had such a big win on Friday against Iowa, that took a lot of energy out of the team.” Civico continued, “American is a really good team and they’ve been battling with the top teams in the country. The team just stayed focused and calm despite the frustration of not getting the outcomes they wanted. And they got it done in overtime. I’m really pleased with the effort. I thought our overtime group was outstanding. Daphne’s finish on that goal was great, it was just gritty, digging in and finding a way to win.”
The fact that it was senior day made it that much more of an emotional game for Rutgers. Civico added, “There’s definitely a lot of emotions. It was great to celebrate them today. This team is so excited about this group of seniors. We really want to keep playing for them.”
Now the postseason begins, as Rutgers hopes to make the 18-team NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1986. They entered last week ranked 13th in the coaches poll and 11th in the RPI rankings. Both polls should be updated on Tuesday. Rutgers can help their cause even more with a strong showing in the Big Ten Tournament, which begins this weekend. The Scarlet Knights are seeded 5th and will face a rematch against 4th seeded Ohio State (11-7; 4-4), who Rutgers lost to 4-3 in a shootout on September 23rd. The game will take place on Sunday, October 28th at Ohio State, with the time to be determined. Here is the conference tournament bracket in full:
We will have continued coverage this week ahead of Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament game, as Rutgers field hockey looks to keep their winning streak alive in postseason play.