For the first time in program history, the No. 3 Rutgers field hockey has won a Big Ten Tournament title. They defeated No. 2 Michigan Sunday afternoon 1-0 at the Bauer Track and Field Complex.
The victory serves as the University’s first conference tournament title in any sport in the Big Ten. In the program’s first appearance in the conference title game, the Scarlet Knights (18-3, 6-2) were able to avenge a loss from earlier in the season when the Wolverines (15-4, 5-3) won 3-0.
On Thursday, Rutgers, the host of the entire tournament, beat Indiana 3-1 in the quarterfinals to advance and eventually beat No. 7 Penn State 2-1 in the semifinals.
Sunday’s matchup started with offensive action from Michigan. They had a total of 4 shots on goal, all of which were saved by senior goalkeeper Gianna Glatz. The Knights struggled to get the ball past midfield but the game remained scoreless after 15 minutes.
In the second quarter, Rutgers was able to start its offensive attack. It earned its first penalty corner against the Wolverines all season. The lone goal of the game came almost halfway through the quarter as sophomore forward Bridy Molyneaux found a sprawled out senior midfielder Tayla Parkes for her fifth goal of the season.
“We knew exactly what to do, we were structured,” Parkes said.
The Knights had two more shots in the frame. Those were Rutgers' last shots of the game.
After halftime, Michigan had two more penalty corners, both unsuccessful as the Knights' defense stifled any opportunities. The Wolverines ended the frame with four more shots, although Glatz didn’t need to make a save on any. Glatz was named to the All-Tournament team, letting in just 2 goals and making 10 saves through three games.
Michigan pulled its goalkeeper with around 5 minutes remaining in the game. Glatz didn’t record any saves in the frame but the defense in front of her made several stops including a last second opportunity that senior back Kerrie Burns managed to keep away from the shooting circle. Burns was crowned the tournament’s MVP and joined Glatz on the All-Tournament Team.
“This is literally a dream come true. We had this vision for Rutgers field hockey. This team is so talented, they’re so gritty, they’re just willing to do whatever it takes for one another,” head field hockey coach Meredith Civico said. “I’m so incredibly proud.”
In the tournament victory against the Hoosiers (10-10, 2-6), Civico won her 100th game on the Banks. During the regular season, Rutgers set new program highs with six conference wins and 18 overall.
The Knights will be back in action once they find out which seed they will be in the NCAA Tournament. They last appeared in the tournament in 2018, and this will be their fourth appearance all-time.
“We’ve been building this and working towards this for a long time,” Civico said. “To win this championship at home, at Rutgers, with this team, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
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