No. 6 Field Hockey vs. No. 9 Harvard, Friday at 2:30pm
The Rutgers field hockey team will square off in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, against No. 9 Harvard. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+, with the winner taking on the winner of the No. 1 UNC / William and Mary match on Sunday at noon. There are no easy matchups, with only 19 teams qualifying for the NCAA tournament. However, the Scarlet Knights have ample experience taking on and competing against the nation’s very best.
Rutgers had a historic season, starting a program-best 15-0 and finishing with a 16-3 record. The Knights are currently No. 6 in the Coaches Poll and the NCAA RPI rankings. RU had seven ranked wins this season, including top-10 wins over No. 8 Maryland and No. 9 Ohio State, and also claimed a win over American East Tournament Champion Cal. The Knights were road warriors, going 11-2 away from home, and should they move on to face No. 1 UNC, they certainly won’t be intimidated, as evidenced by their performance on the second to last game of the season against then No. 1 NU, taking the Wildcats into double OT and eventually losing on a controversial penalty shot goal being waived off by the referee.
The Scarlet Knights dominated the B1G postseason awards, with the gifted Iris Langejans wining player of the year, backer Puck Winters winning defensive player of the year. and attacker Guillermina Causarano being named B1G All First Team with a team-leading 12 goals, eight assists, and 31 points.
Paulina Niklaus was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection, providing stout backline defense. Ava Cickavage anchored the team from center midfield and earned Second Team All-Big Ten. In goal, Sophia Howard has a 1.20 goals-against-average and .764 save percentage (courtesy Rutgers Athletics).
No. 9 Harvard ended the year with a 15-3 record. The Crimson ran off 10 straight wins to end the season, including wins over NCAA teams Syracuse and St. Joe’s, and won the inaugural Ivy League Tournament to clinch an automatic bid.
As a team, Harvard is third nationally in shutouts per game, sixth in goals-against-average and ninth in scoring margin. Goalkeeper Shahbo is 11th in the nation in GAA. Piekarski was named the Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year, while Bronte-May Brough was the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year.
Harvard head coach Tjerk van Herwaarden has been the head coach of Harvard since 2012. He was previously an assistant coach at Maryland, and was on the staff in 2005 while Rutgers head coach Meredith Civico was a player, winning the National Championship (Harvard preview courtesy Rutgers Athletics). Coach Civico sat down with NBC 4’s Bruce Beck recently to discuss the upcoming tournament.
Head Coach Meredith Civico sat down with Bruce Beck to talk #RUFH and look ahead to the NCAA Tournament— Rutgers Field Hockey (@RUFieldHockey) November 9, 2023
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Women’s Soccer takes on No. 8 seed Columbia Sunday, Nov. 12 at Noon
The Rutgers women’s soccer, with an RPI at No. 37, sweated out selection Monday but, in the end, heard their name called for the 12th consecutive season. The Scarlet Knights (9-6-4) will take on the Columbia Lions (10-4-3) in Manhattan on Sunday at noon.
Rutgers finished tied for sixth place in the Big Ten in a season that saw inconsistency on defense and an inability on offense to generate goals. The Scarlet Knights are, however, unbeaten in 5 of their last 6 matches and had an impressive enough resume to be selected as an at-large by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Rutgers logged three shutout victories over Top 50 teams, including No. 34 Ohio State on the road, No. 42 Providence, and No. 50 Michigan. They earned three draws on the road against teams in the Top 25, including shutouts against No. 17 Princeton and No. 21 Wisconsin, and a 2-2 draw at No. 23 Nebraska.
Rutgers heads back to the NCAA Tournament with ample experience, with 10 starters back from the 2022 NCAA Tournament squad. Included in that group is Allison Lynch, one of three players in program history to play 100 matches and has played in 100 percent of Rutgers’ matches since stepping foot on campus in 2019. RU was honored with four All-Big Ten selections, with Riley Tiernan and Emily Mason on the Second Team, keeper Olivia Bodmer, and attacker Ashley Baran on the All-Freshman Team. (courtesy Rutgers Athletics).
This is their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2006 for the Columbia Lions. The Lions became the first Ivy League team to defeat No. 14 Brown since 2018 in a 2-1 overtime win Friday in the Ivy League Tournament semifinals. Columbia fell to Harvard in the Ivy League Tournament championship game Sunday. The Lions’ game against Rutgers will mark Columbia’s first time in program history to host a NCAA Tournament game at Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium. (courtesy Columbia Athletics).
The Columbia and Rutgers matchup winner will move on to face Clemson or Radford in the tournament's second round.