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Rutgers field hockey ready to host Big Ten Tournament

Senior back Kerrie Burns and the Rutgers field hockey team will look to put their home field advantage to good use as they host the Big Ten Tournament.  – Photo by Tom Gilbert

For the first time in program history, the No. 3 Rutgers field hockey team will host the Big Ten Tournament. Play gets started next Thursday at the Bauer Track and Field Complex on Busch campus. It continues the next day and wraps up on that Sunday.

“We’re really excited to be hosting the Big Ten Tournament,” said head field hockey coach Meredith Civico. “It’s great to be playing in front of our fans and families and New Jersey where field hockey is so big.”

According to a program official, COVID-19 precautions for the event will be in line with the University’s policies.

Since teams are entering their last weekend of play, seeding is still unknown, although at the time of publishing, the Scarlet Knights (13-3, 5-2) sit third in the Big Ten, behind No. 2 Michigan and No. 1 Iowa, the two teams Rutgers fell to. 

The national rankings are dominated by the Big Ten. Six of the top eight teams play in the conference. No. 21 Ohio State also cracked the top 25. 

“It’s exciting, it’s a competition this year,” said senior back Kerrie Burns. “Having five, six teams in the top ten, every game is a battle and I think we play better against better opponents so it’s going to be the best hockey there is.”

With two more games before the tournament, one against a Big Ten opponent, the Knights already amassed a resume of wins. A win this Friday against Michigan State would be their sixth conference win of the season, and most in program history since joining the conference. Rutgers took down 10 ranked teams during the season, defeating teams as high as then-No. 3 Northwestern. 

Outscoring opponents 33-17 certainly helps those efforts. Senior goalkeeper Gianna Glatz was between the pipes for most of the season. Glatz built a .981 goals-against average, good for second in the Big Ten.

Another advantage the Knights have over the rest of the competition is home-field advantage. 

“From the first day of preseason (Civico) said we have the biggest advantage that we get to practice and play on this field every single day,” said graduate student midfielder Katie Larmour. “It’s so special to have one last tournament at home, especially for us seniors.”

Rutgers has seen contributions on the field from players of all ages. One of the leading goal scorers is in her rookie year while the other is in her fourth year. Freshman midfielder Lucy Bannatyne entered the starting lineup for the first game and hasn’t left it since. One of her 6 goals was the game-winner in double overtime against then-No. 16 Syracuse. 

Three weeks ago, Bannatyne was crowned Big Ten Freshman of the Week after her first assist on the Knights led the way to an overtime goal. At that point in the season, there was a three-way tie for the team leader in goals with 4. Bannatyne had received the same award after the first week of games as well.

Senior midfielder Milena Redlingshoefer shares the team lead in goals and leads Rutgers with nine assists and 21 shots on goal. 

Even though only days remain until the tournament begins, preparations for the tournament began months ago.

“We started planning for this last spring, our facilities staff has been incredible,” Civico said. “We’re bringing in vendors and food trucks and apparel and lights and music and sound system(s). We’re doing everything we possibly can to make this the greatest event and the greatest Big Ten Tournament possible.”

For updates on the Rutgers field hockey team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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