The no. 18 Rutgers field hockey team is peaking at the right time of the season, as they won its third consecutive Big Ten match on Friday afternoon, stunning no. 7 Michigan by the score of 3-0 in Piscataway. The Wolverines came into the day winners of six straight, having scored a combined 21 goals in those victories. However, a combination of timely offense, led by Austyn Cuneo, and another tremendous defensive effort from the Scarlet Knights, led to just the second conference loss of the season for Michigan.
After a scoreless first quarter, Rutgers took the lead with a beautiful pass from Cuneo off a corner to Katie Larmour, who slammed home the goal from the near post.
Rutgers took full control of the game with a 2-0 lead right before halftime as Cuneo scored off an assist from Milena Redlinshoefer.
What a play for the GOAL! Milena Redlingshoefer with the spin move, then drops a pass for Austyn Cuneo, who fires in a goal to give #RUFH a 2-0 lead over No. 7 Michigan heading into halftime! pic.twitter.com/NpbROc6FEq— Rutgers Field Hockey (@RUFieldHockey) October 25, 2019
The Scarlet Knights continued the offensive barrage with another goal in the third quarter, as Cuneo found Kerrie Burns off another corner.
While Michigan outshot Rutgers 10-6, the Wolverines were only able to get one shot on goal, while RU put every shot on goal. UM also held a 10-3 advantage on corners, but were ultimately shutout for the first time in seven games. The result was even more impressive because Michigan played without a goalkeeper in the fourth quarter to press on offense, but to no avail. Gianna Glatz made one save for her fourth shutout of the season.
Head coach Meredith Civico said, “It was a total team effort. I think our forward lines did an incredible job coming back and we were really able to put their midfield under a lot of pressure every time they received the ball. I thought our defensive unit was so good. They’re so solid and our defensive penalty corner unit in particular, that group works so hard. They do tons of reps and they watch tons of video. To secure the shutout, and especially because Michigan had a run of penalty corner opportunities at the end of the game and they were just were so gritty and there was no way the ball was going in the goal.”
Rutgers is now 9-6 overall and 4-3 in Big Ten play, having won three consecutive games, as well as five of its last six contests. Michigan dropped to 12-4 overall and 5-2 in conference play. Entering this week, Rutgers had an RPI ranking of 17th, while Michigan was 10th, so this victory will go a long way in helping RU inch closer to its second consecutive NCAA berth after a 32 year absence.
The Scarlet Knights are now 4-6 against ranked foes this season and have a top ten rated strength of schedule per FieldHockeyCorner.com. They own two wins over top ten ranked foes, Princeton and now Michigan, the first time they’ve done that in program history.
Next up, Rutgers hosts Temple (5-8) this Sunday at 1 p.m. before concluding the regular season at Penn State (4-10; 3-3) on Sunday, November 3rd at noon. A win over the Nittany Lions would assure RU of a second straight top five finish in the best field hockey conference in the country.