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No. 10 Rutgers Field Hockey set for showdown with No. 4 Northwestern

The Scarlet Knights are coming off a sweep of Penn State and are currently tied for third place in the Big Ten.

Rich Graessle/Rutgers Athletics

The Rutgers field hockey team moved up two spots to no. 10 this week in the NFHCA Coaches Poll after sweeping no. 9 Penn State last weekend. The Scarlet Knights won the first game 3-0 behind goals from Clayre Smith, Rachel Houston and Milena Redlingshoefer, while Gianna Mancini delivered the winning goal in a 1-0 victory last Sunday.

Redlingshoefer leads RU with 10 points this season and is tied for a team best three goals along with Kassidy Shetler.

The defense delivered two shutouts and was led by goaltender Gianna Glatz made 11 combined saves for two shutouts in the pair of victories over the Nittany Lions. Glatz was honored for her stellar performances by winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season and sixth of her career, as well as being named the national Defensive Player of the Week by the NFHCA.

Rutgers is now 7-3 this season and has outscored opponents 17-4. They have the second best goals against average in the country at 0.38 and third nationally with a .892 save percentage.

While Big Ten teams are only playing conference opponents this season after it was moved from the fall to spring due to COVID-19, the Scarlet Knights hold a 4-2 conference record and are tied for third place. The first four contests of the season counted towards the overall record for each team but not for the Big Ten standings, as they were played as part of The Beach event in a neutral setting at the USA Field Hockey Regional Training Center in Virginia Beach to open the season.

The only losses this season for RU have come against Michigan and Iowa, who are the top two teams in the Big Ten standings.

Rutgers will take on no. 4 Northwestern (8-2; 4-2) this Friday, April 9 at home at 1 p.m. ET and it will be aired live on the Big Ten Network (BTN). Both teams will play again on Sunday, April 11 at noon for Senior Day as RU will honor the only senior on the team, Gracey Butsack. She has played in 63 career games and 24 starts, including every contest this season and is tied for the team lead with 4 assists along with Redlingshoefer and Katie Larmour.

This upcoming series is a huge opportunity for head coach Meredith Civico’s team to move up the national rankings and Big Ten standings for a second consecutive week. Northwestern leads the all-time series 5-1 and enters this weekend having won three straight games in overtime.

Rutgers will travel to no. 11 Maryland (6-4; 4-2) the weekend of April 15 for a pair of games to conclude the regular season ahead of the Big Ten Tournament in Iowa City the following week. Stay tuned for more coverage as the Scarlet Knights look to close out another successful season on the banks.