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R-U Rah Rah: Fast facts you need to know about 3 Rutgers sports teams

From women's soccer to field hockey, there's so much to learn about the many sports programs that exist here at Rutgers. – Photo by Rachel Chang

As a member of the Big Ten since 2014, Rutgers is home to many sports teams that draw crowds of thousands each and every year. While all teams at the University boast their own history and allure, here are a few fast facts you should know about three popular programs.

Women’s soccer

One of the great stories of last year was the Rutgers women’s soccer team. After a regular season that saw the program finish 19-4-2, the Scarlet Knights embarked on a memorable postseason journey.

In the Big Ten Tournament, Rutgers outlasted Wisconsin and Iowa to reach the Big Ten Tournament Championship against Michigan at Yurcak Field on Busch campus. Despite the 1-0 loss, It was the third time that the Knights had reached the title game and their first appearance since 2016.

The magic continued in the NCAA Tournament. After handling Bucknell and Saint Louis in the first two rounds, Rutgers pulled out back-to-back thrilling victories on penalty kicks to advance to the College Cup for the second time in program history.

Even with all of the success of last season, head coach Mike O’Neill and the Knights are not done yet. Led by young stars such as sophomore forward Riley Tiernan and sophomore back Emily Mason, the program is ranked No. 6 nationally in the Preseason Coaches Poll and looks primed to make another run at the College Cup.

Field hockey

As impressive as last year was for women’s soccer, the Rutgers field hockey team was just as good, as 2021 was a season full of records broken and incredible accomplishments for the Knights.

First, Rutgers smashed its program record for wins, finishing the season with a record of 19-4 and 13 ranked wins. The Knights also finished with a 6-2 record in the Big Ten, their best record since joining the conference and good enough for the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Big Ten Tournament would be historic for the University as a whole. Over the course of four days, Rutgers defeated Indiana, No. 7 Penn State and No. 2 Michigan to capture the University’s first-ever Big Ten Tournament title. Following the title run, the Knights earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

Individual accolades span far and wide for the program too. Rutgers saw four players earn All-Big Ten honors, including senior goalkeeper and Big Ten Co-Player of the Year Gianna Glatz, who was also a First Team All-American and was nominated for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year. 

In addition to Glatz, graduate student midfielder Katie Larmour was named First Team All-Big Ten and finished as a Second Team All-American while senior midfielder Gianna Mancini was a Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree.

Like women’s soccer, head coach Meredith Civico and the Knights are ready to run back another successful season in 2022 against a schedule that features eight teams from last year’s NCAA Tournament. 

Women’s lacrosse

Keeping with the theme of historic seasons is the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team, who under Big Ten Coach of the Year Melissa Lehman, lit up the spring with the best season in its 46-year history.

The Knights ended the regular season with a program-record 16 wins, defeated six ranked opponents and scored a team-record 285 goals. In addition, Rutgers started the season 8-0, the best start to a season in program history.

The magic continued into postseason play, as the Knights defeated No. 4 Northwestern 13-5 for their first-ever win against the Wildcats, also marking their first-ever win against a top-five team and first-ever Big Ten Championship appearance. This was all done on their home field as Rutgers hosted the Big Ten Tournament.

The Knights’ historic season was enough to earn their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The tournament started with a 17-10 win over No. 23 Saint Joseph’s and then ended with 11-7 loss to No. 7 Stony Brook.

Three catalysts for Rutgers last year were Taralyn Naslonski, junior midfielder Cassidy Spilis and junior defender Meghan Ball. Naslonski has a case for the greatest player in program history, as she finished her Knights career as the all-time leader in points and goals. She was also named a Second Team All-American last year.

Ball and Spilis are both among the best at their positions in the nation. Ball is currently second in program history in caused turnovers and draw controls while Spilis had career highs in points, goals, draw controls, ground balls and caused turnovers last season.

With Ball and Spilis back next season, Rutgers will look to duplicate the success of 2022 with another strong campaign next spring.

Hopefully after reading this you have gained a better understanding of some of the many sports teams that play here at the University, and learned a few fun facts along the way. Make sure to show some support for your favorite Rutgers sports teams throughout your college experience!

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