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No. 21 Rutgers field hockey closes regular season with 2 ranked home matches

The Rutgers field hockey team finishes one of the toughest regular season schedules in the nation with two more ranked matchups, facing Penn State and James Madison this weekend.  – Photo by Rutgers Field Hockey / Twitter

The Rutgers field hockey team will host two ranked teams this weekend in its final weekend of regular season play. The No. 21 Scarlet Knights (7-8, 3-4) will host Penn State tomorrow and James Madison on Sunday.

Rutgers is back on home turf after two weeks on the road, with consecutive losses decided by only 1 goal.

The Knights are coming off of a hard-fought loss against Syracuse this past Sunday. Coming up just short in the 4-3 match, Rutgers played 60 minutes of aggressive field hockey but ultimately could not defeat the No. 9 Orange (14-3, 3-2).

The Knights, though on a losing streak, are hitting accolades within the team. Junior back Iris Langejans is on a three-game point streak going into the weekend, picking up 2 goals and two assists. Langejans now leads the team with 14 points.

Freshman midfielder Indy van Ek is making headlines once again as she was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second time in only three weeks. Her impact on Rutgers is obvious, with goals in the past three games. Van Ek leads the team with 5 goals on the season. 

The Knights will meet No. 3 Nittany Lions (14-2, 6-1) tomorrow, their fourth top-three match-up this season. Penn State has been nearly perfect this season with only one conference loss and six consecutive wins since October 2. Sophia Gladieux leads the Nittany Lions offense with 20 goals, 43 points and a 2.69 points per game percentage. Gladieux is tied for first in goals amongst the NCAA.

A win against Penn State could mean a lot for Rutgers at this point in the season and even up the program’s conference record to 4-4, giving the team its fifth straight season of going at least .500 in the Big Ten. It would also make the fifth straight win from the Knights against the Nittany Lions in their all-time history against one another. 

Rutgers faces another top-20 opponent this weekend in the No. 19 Dukes (10-6, 0-0). The team is 3-1-1 in all time against James Madison, with a win in its last meeting against the Dukes in 2014. 

On Sunday, the Knights will be celebrating their Senior Day, honoring seniors Annie Walsh, Amanda Beck, Isabella Mancini, Rachel Houston, Maggie Lamb and Carly Snarski. The six senior members will be honored in a pregame ceremony prior to the start of the match. 

The Knights will face off against Penn State tomorrow at 3 p.m, and the game is being nationally televised on the Big Ten Network. Sunday’s game will start at 1 p.m. and will be on Big Ten Network+.

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

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