The sun is out again, the air is cool and dry, and postseason play has begun for many fall sports.
The No. 6 seed Women’s soccer team entered the B1G tournament on a roll, winning four of five, and entering a first-round match against the No. 3 seed Wisconsin Badgers on a cold day in Madison with light snow showers. Neither team could find the back of the net in regulation and two overtime periods and the match moved to penalty kicks. The Badgers (12-3-4) would prevail, 4-1, moving on to the second round, while the Knights were eliminated.
At 9-6-4 and with an RPI at No. 34, the Scarlet Knights are firmly on the bubble to make their 12th consecutive NCAA tournament. The DI women’s soccer selection show and bracket release will be streamed live on NCAA.com on Monday, Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. ET. One could argue that head coach Mike O’Neill’s women’s soccer program has been a steady rock in a sea of chaos during the University’s first ten years in the Big Ten conference. This season, however, has seen uneven play on defense and an offense that struggles mightily to score goals. Can RU make another deep-season tourney run? We’ll know starting Monday.
89' | BROCIOUS SAVES THE GAME OFF THE LINE! pic.twitter.com/fBI0DqJiPj— RUTGERS WOMEN’S SOCCER (@RUWSoccer) October 29, 2023
No. 5 Women’s Field Hockey
After a historic 15-0 start to the season (when does a start no longer become so?), head coach Meredith Civico’s squad dropped their final two games. The then No. 3 Scarlet Knights took their first loss of the season at home, 2-1, on a penalty shootout vs. No. 1 Northwestern, after the referee waived off an apparent Rutgers game-winning shot. As a result, each team got an additional shot, and NW converted while RU didn’t.
The explanation given was that the Rutgers shooter didn’t beat the eight-second shot clock. Since there is no shot clock on the field of play, this is at the referee's discretion and, as can be imagined, stirred up quite the controversy. Frankly, Rutgers dominated the match and controlled play, and losing in such a fashion to the No. 1 team in the land is a tough pill to swallow. My first reaction, as any longtime RU fan can predict, is that this was the classic RU Screw.
The Knights would drop their next game at No. 8 Iowa, 7-2. The Hawkeyes would dominate the second half. As the No. 2 seed in the conference, Rutgers will square off at home against No. 7 seed Michigan on November 2nd. With a national RPI of No. 5, Rutgers looks in prime position to land a top seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. A deep run in the B1G postseason tourney will only help solidify their NCAA seeding.
The Men’s soccer squad dropped their final match of the season against Indiana, 4-1. With the loss, their record drops to 5-7-3 (3-4-1 B1G) on the season and they will need to repeat last year’s heroics of winning the conference championship to participate in the NCAA tourney. The No. 7-seeded Scarlet Knights will face No. 2 Penn State in the Quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday, Nov. 3 in State College, Pennsylvania.
At 10-12 (2-10 Big Ten), Rutgers reached double figures in wins for the first time since 2012, when they were members of the Big East. Head coach Caitlin Schweihofer’s group continues to take big steps this season. The Scarlet Knights picked up a road victory against the Hawkeyes on Friday October 27, followed by a defeat in Lincoln against the No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers. For those of you who haven’t watched any B1G volleyball this season, treat yourself by tuning into a Nebraska home match. Nearly 9,000 rabid fans pack the Bob Devaney cenetr to the rafters and bring a tremendous amount of energy each match.
The Scarlet Knights return home to host Indiana, who is receiving votes in the top 25, on Friday, November 3 at 7 p.m. and welcome No.1 Nebraska on Sunday, November 5 at 1 p.m..