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No. 15 Rutgers field hockey starts season 2-2

The Rutgers field hockey team remains one of the best in the nation, ranking 15th after splitting it's first four games. – Photo by Rutgers Field Hockey / Twitter

The Rutgers Field Hockey team is off and running early in the 2022 season. The No. 15 Scarlet Knights (2-2, 0-0) started their season with an impressive top-10 national ranking before their first game, largely a product of their successes in last year's run. 

Rutgers kicked off its season hosting the Battle on the Banks, where the team would suffer two tough losses to fall to 0-2.

In the season opener on August 26, the Knights faced Duke. Scoring for both teams opened up in the second quarter, where Brynn Crouse struck first for the then-No. 18 Blue Devils (2-2, 0-0).

That lead was short-lived thanks to senior forward Rachel Houston, who evened up the score less than a minute after Duke took the lead, putting up the lone goal for the Knights. 

Sophomore goalkeeper Sophia Howard had a stellar performance in goal against the Blue Devils, where she recorded a career-high of 10 saves to keep the game close. 

Despite its efforts, Rutgers fell to Duke in a shootout after two inconclusive overtimes. The final score was 2-1 in favor of the Blue Devils. 

The Knights then hosted St. Joseph’s two days later. The then-No. 16 Hawks (2-1, 0-0) controlled the game, outshooting and outscoring Rutgers to give themselves a 5-goal shutout win. Howard started again in goal for the Knights, recording three saves while allowing 5 goals. 

St. Joseph’s opened the scoring in the second half, recording 3 goals in the third quarter. Freke van Tilburg was the shining star of the Hawks’ offense, putting four shots on goal and scoring three. St. Joseph’s then sealed the game in the fourth with 2 extra goals. 

Despite a tough opening weekend, Rutgers bounced back the following week, defeating La Salle and UConn in two more matches on the Banks. 

The Knights shut out the Explorers (2-2, 0-0) on the way to their first win of the season and were led by goals from sophomore midfielder Lucy Bannatyne and freshman midfielder Indy van Ek

Rutgers outshot La Salle with 10 shots on goal. Bannatyne opened up the scoring for the Knights, recording her 1st goal of the season unassisted. Van Ek followed Bannatyne up with her 1st goal on the Banks as well as her first collegiate goal. 

The Explorers only put one shot on goal, giving Howard the save in net and a shutout for Rutgers. 

The then-No. 15 Huskies (3-1, 0-0) fell to the Knights in overtime this past Friday. Howard once again got the nod in the net, making six saves to keep her team on top and giving her a second-straight shutout. 

The game stayed scoreless through regulation, in large part due to Howard's goalkeeping. The game-sealing goal finally came when sophomore midfielder Guillermina Causarano scored in overtime to bring Rutgers its second consecutive victory. 

The Knights head into next weekend with two ranked in-state rivals on the schedule. They will travel to play No. 25 Monmouth on Friday at 3 p.m. before returning home on Sunday to face No. 17 Princeton at noon. The games will be available to stream on FloSports and Big Ten Network+, respectively. 

For more updates on the Rutgers Field Hockey team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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