Because it’s just so darn busy in the fall with work, life, and athletics, I’m channeling my inner Aaron Breitman and writing up a weekend recap of the key non-football events.
The No. 10 women’s field hockey team improved to 7-0 (all road victories) for the first time in their history after defeating the No. 12 Nittany Lions in Happy Valley this past Friday, 1-0, in double overtime. Star keeper Sophia Howard made save after save, including a trio of penalty corners in the first half. Star junior Guillermina Causarano scored the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute of the second overtime to give the Knights a hard-fought road victory in their first conference game.
This past Sunday, the Knights played their first home game against a stout LaSalle squad, who was down their head coach due to a personal matter and their assistant coach, Meg Robinson, due to illness. Meg’s husband coached in her place, according to the livestream broadcasters.
Carly Snarski scored the first goal at Bauer of the season, and #RUFH never looked back, with a 2-0 win over La Salle in the home opener to improve to 8-0 on the year!— Rutgers Field Hockey (@RUFieldHockey) September 17, 2023
Recap: https://t.co/OLz4idGRIR pic.twitter.com/YQRgco9JAv
Graduate student Carly Snarski scored her first goal since the 2021 season to put the Knights up 1-0 in the second quarter. Star redshirt sophomore Puck Winter added an insurance goal in the fourth to effectively put the game away. Guillermina Causarano notched both assists and is now tied with Winter in the team points lead with 14 each. Rutgers is a perfect 8-0 on the season for the first time in program history.
The Knights hit the road again on Sunday, September 24th, to take on No. 18 Umass. Of note, four of the following five games will be against currently ranked squads.
The Scarlet Knights entered Sunday’s match against undefeated Michigan State looking anything but the team that defeated Indiana for the Big Ten championship last fall. The Knights had already dropped three matches - two close games against Delaware and Princeton and a rout by UCLA. Their two wins, identical 2-0 scores, came against regional rivals Columbia and Saint Peters. Their lone draw was a 2-2 result versus Saint Johns.
On a sun-splashed senior day this past Sunday at Yurcak Field, Rutgers played a solid first half against the Spartans, leading in shots (9-4) and shots on goal (4-1) at the half. The opportunities were there but the Knights could not find the back of the net. In the second half, it was the Spartans who broke the ice, scoring on a goal by Will Eby in the 67th minute to take a 1-0 lead. As the clock ticked down, it looked as if Rutgers would suffer another tough loss, but then this happened in the 90th minute:
Jackson Temple’s goal with one second remaining on the rebound off a header from Nicholas Collins pulled a draw out of the jaws of defeat, and Rutgers would move to 2-3-2 on the season. Michigan State is now 4-0-2 on the season. Each team picked up an important point to start conference play. Spartans keeper Zac Kelly lay on the ground, pounding his fist into the dirt in frustration, surrounded by his stunned teammates, while their head coach pleaded with the refs to review the video.
For Rutgers, they could celebrate Senior Day properly, honoring eight seniors: Jace Orvos, Cole Sotack, Jason Bouregy, Colin Beasley, Ola Maeland, Gabriel Addo, Saahb Kular and Nick Spittle in addition to two graduate students, Jackson Temple and Chris Tiao (courtesy Rutgers Athletics).
The Knights will travel to Ann Arbor Friday, Sept. 22, for their Big Ten road opener, the appetizer before the football teams square off Saturday. The contest will begin at 7 p.m. and stream on B1G+.
Rutgers knew they were in for a tough battle in Bloomington against an undefeated Indiana team. To make matters worse, the Knights looked unprepared to start the match, yielding two goals in the first five minutes. The first Hoosiers goal was off a defensive lapse as the Indiana player took the ball away from Knights defender Kassidy Banks. Hoosier attacker Paige Webber sent a beautiful pass to the center of the box that Anna Bennett sent home off the foot of Rutgers keeper Olivia Bodmer for an early 1-0 lead. The Hoosiers would add their second goal minutes later as Webber broke through the defense, causing Rutgers keeper Olivia Bodmer to charge out aggressively. Webber chipped the ball over the hard-charging Bodmer’s head into the empty net. Just like that, Rutgers found themselves in a 2-0 hole nary five minutes into the match.
Down but not out, the Knights would regroup and settle in, creating their own opportunities. In the 38th minute, fresh off the bench, Gia Girman would get the Knights on the board, off assists from Olivia Russomanno and Giana Romano, to pull within a goal. The Knights would take two more shots as halftime approached - one by Riley Tiernan and the second by Russomanno - but neither was on target, and they would head to the half trailing, 2-1.
In the 52nd minute, Allison Lowrey sent a long ball from the right flank towards the Indiana goal. The Hoosier defender and keeper got mixed up, as each thought the other would handle the ball. Gia Vicari hustled the whole way, gathered the loose ball, and drove it into the empty net to knot the match up, 2-2.
The score would remain tied until the 85th minute when Webber would tally her second goal off another breakdown on defense by the Knights. This is the third time this season the Knights have yielded a goal with less than five minutes remaining, and it will haunt them as they now chase wins in an attempt to make the NCAA tournament again. It’s puzzling that on such a historically sound defensive squad, they would leave their end of the field shorthanded with a vital conference point on the line.
Indiana would take the lead, 3-2, and win the match, improving to 7-0-2 and 1-0-0 in the conference. Rutgers drops to 4-3-2 and 0-1-0 in conference and will need to figure out things quickly to get their season back on track.
No. 6 Penn State. Thurs., Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at Yurcak Field, streaming live on B1G+.
Rutgers volleyball closed out non-conference play on Friday night with a five-set defeat to local rival Princeton at the College Ave Gym. This snaps their match-win streak at five and drops them to 8-2 on the season.
The Tigers took set one, 25-23 but the Knights responded with 25-12 and 25-16 victories. Princeton won the fourth set, 25-19, and would take the match 15-12 in five sets. Of note, Senior Madyson Chitty posted her 1,000th career dig, becoming the 10th Scarlet Knight to accomplish the feat.
Conference play begins. The Scarlet Knights head to Happy Valley to meet #13 Penn State on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. on BTN. RU will return home to Jersey Mike’s Arena to host #17 Purdue on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. on Letterwinner Day.