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Rutgers Field Hockey season ends just short of NCAA Tourney berth

The team finished with a national ranking of 18th in the latest coaches poll and RPI.

Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics

The Rutgers field hockey team saw its season officially end on Sunday night, as they ended up on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. The Scarlet Knights were one of the last three teams left out of the 18 team field.

With a resume that included a 10-8 overall record, two wins over top ten opponents in Princeton and Michigan, a 4-6 record against ranked foes, as well as a strength of schedule ranking of 8th and an RPI ranking of 18th, they fell just short of earning a second consecutive invite to the NCAA Tournament. Rutgers is ranked 18th in the latest coaches poll that came out Tuesday.

RU peaked with a four game winning streak in late October and held a 10-6 overall record, but an upset loss at Penn State in the last game of the regular season dropped them from fifth to sixth place in the final Big Ten standings. That set up a quarterfinal matchup with third seeded Northwestern, who won last Thursday by the score of 3-1.

Rutgers saw three players earn All-Big Ten honors this season, as junior goalkeeper Gianna Glatz was named to the First Team for a second straight year, redshirt junior midfielder Katie Larmour earned First Team honors after missing the previous season due to injury, while redshirt senior back Austyn Cuneo was named to the Second Team. Team captain and senior Alanna Gallatto, who started in all 71 games she played in her Rutgers career, earned the team’s Sportsmanship award from the conference.

Cuneo led the Scarlet Knights in goals (8), assists (8), and total points (24), despite missing three games. Larmour was second in goals (7) and total points (15). Other top offensive contributors were junior back Kerrie Burns (4 goals, 1 assist, 9 points), sophomore midfielder Tayla Parkes (2 goals, 5 assists, 9 points), and sophomore midfielder Milena Redlingshoefer (1 goal, 6 assists, 8 points), who played in just 13 games. In net, Glatz had a .740 save percentage, a 1.49 goals against average and four shutouts this season.

Despite falling short of an NCAA berth, the Rutgers field hockey program is still having unprecedented success under eighth year head coach Meredith Civico. They were ranked every week of this season, a year removed from the program’s first NCAA appearance in 32 years. They produced back to back double digit win seasons, including winning four Big Ten games in both, the program’s most ever since joining the conference in 2014. They also had three All-Big Ten selections in back to back years, including two First Team selections. Rutgers has fifteen victories all-time against ranked foes and twelve of them have come in the last three seasons.

The season didn’t end the way Rutgers wanted it to, but with most of the starting lineup set to return next year and several promising freshmen on the roster, the future remains bright for the field hockey program.