Sunday afternoon saw the nationally ranked Rutgers field hockey and women’s soccer teams take part in Big Ten Quarterfinal matches with both looking to boost their NCAA Tournament resumes. Unfortunately, both programs suffered heartbreaking defeats and they’ll have to rely on strong regular seasons to hope they receive NCAA at-large bids.
#10 ranked Rutgers Field Hockey went on the road as the five seed for against fourth seeded Ohio State, who they lost to in a shootout during the regular season. This meeting was another close contest, as the Rutgers defense, which led the NCAA with nine shutouts during the regular season, kept the Buckeyes off the scoreboard in regulation. It took a complete effort and the back line playing in front of goalkeeper Gianna Glatz was making saves as well.
Ohio State outshot Rutgers 20-6 and held a 13-2 edge in penalty corners. Even so, Glatz was outstanding once again, making 11 saves in the game, including these two in double overtime.
Unfortunately, #23 ranked Ohio State kept the pressure on and finally broke through with the game winner as Esther Clotet finished on a pass from Kelsey Nolan in the 89th minute.
Rutgers head coach Meredith Civico had this to say after the loss:
“We are obviously very disappointed with the result today. It is not what we wanted or expected. I thought Ohio State was a threat offensively, but our defensive unit played very well and once again Gianna Glatz was excellent in goal. We just did not create enough offensive opportunities. I really hope our season isn’t over because our team has worked really hard all season and I’d love for them to represent Rutgers in the NCAA Tournament.”
The Scarlet Knights are now 13-5 this season and have a long wait before knowing if their quest to end a 32 year drought for an NCAA bid was successful or not. Rutgers had an RPI ranking of 7 entering this week and all five defeats have come against ranked foes. They also own fives wins over ranked opponents, including two top ten victories over Princeton and Iowa. The NCAA Selection Show is on Sunday, November 4th at 10 p.m. on NCAA.com.
As for the 21st ranked Rutgers women’s soccer team, they also suffered a heartbreaking loss on Sunday, falling to Minnesota 1-0 in the Big Ten Quarterfinals. The conference’s Offensive Player of the Year, April Bockin, scored the game winner in the 87th minute against the league’s Freshman of the Year, Rutgers goalkeeper Meagan McClelland.
Minnesota did something rare by outshooting the Scarlet Knights, which is just one of a handful of times that’s happened all season. The Golden Goohers held a 9-4 edge in shots in the contest. For Rutgers, all four shots were put on goal, but they were unable to find the back of the net. All-Big Ten forward Amirah Ali had two opportunities that came close, but didn’t result in a score. Give credit to Minnesota goalkeeper Maddie Nelson, who made all four saves. McClelland made four of her own in the hard fought loss. It was just the second defeat suffered at Yurcak Field for Rutgers this season and third overall.
“I am proud of the effort that this team gave all year. Today, we just lacked a little bit of an edge,” said head coach Mike O’Neill. “I give Minnesota credit and their defense.” He continued, ”I’m really proud of this group. I’m proud of the seniors, what they have brought to the team and the University. We are going to rely heavily on that leadership to make sure we take care of ourselves, refocus and regroup. It’s been a great year and we will await the NCAA selections.”
With a record of 11-3-5, Rutgers will find out their NCAA Tournament fate on Monday, Nov. 5th at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Scarlet Knights had an RPI of 27 entering this week, the highest of any Big Ten team. They are seeking their seventh consecutive NCAA bid.