The Rutgers field hockey team lost its opening round match of the Big Ten Tournament today to Northwestern in Columbus, Ohio. The No. 18 Scarlet Knights (8-10, 3-6) fell to the No. 4 Wildcats (16-3, 6-3) by a score of 2-1.
Earlier this week, three Rutgers players received All-Big Ten honors. The Knights saw freshman back Puck Winter be named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year, junior back Iris Langejans nominated to First Team All-Big Ten and senior forward Rachel Houston win the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. With Winter’s award, it is the second year in a row that the Knights had a major Big Ten award winner for field hockey.
Rutgers started off slow being outshot 5-1 in the first quarter. Northwestern started off applying a lot of pressure on the Knights net and was able to jam the Rutgers passing lanes early, resulting in the early shot advantage for the Wildcats.
Northwestern kept the pressure on in the second quarter. In the 27th minute, Lauren Wadas blasted the ball from the top of the circle and past sophomore goalkeeper Sophia Howard to put the Wildcats ahead 1-0. Northwestern would go into the half leading the Knights 1-0 and having a 13-2 advantage in shots.
Rutgers came out of the half firing and began to mount pressure on the Wildcat net. The Knights finally got on the board in the 37th minute as Winter shot one past Northwestern goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz off a penalty corner.
This was Winters’ 3rd goal of the season and Rutgers' first of the contest. The Knights defense stood tall in the third quarter, only allowing three shots in the period. After 45 minutes of play the score was 1-1 heading into the final frame, and it would stay that way as the game went into 10-minute sudden death overtime.
Not much pressure was put on either net in the fourth quarter as both teams got jammed around midfield multiple times. In overtime, the Wildcats were able to put the Rutgers net under duress. The final goal came on a penalty stroke from Peyton Halsey, sealing the game for Northwestern.
The Knights totaled 11 shots with six shots on goal. The Wildcats more than doubled Rutgers in shots totaling 24 with 11 shots on net.
Howard recorded eight saves on the day for the Knights with another save being made by the team while Skubisz totaled five for Northwestern.
The Wildcats will move on to play No. 2 Maryland at 4 p.m. tomorrow with coverage on the Big Ten Network. Meanwhile, Rutgers will wait with hopes that it will get to play in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
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