The Rutgers women's soccer team began the 2023 season with a win and a loss in its first two games at Yurcak Field on Busch campus. The Scarlet Knights (1-1, 0-0) defeated Holy Cross by a score of 2-0 on Thursday but fell to Hofstra 1-0 yesterday.
Rutgers controlled its season-opening game against the Crusaders (0-2, 0-0) from start to finish, only allowing Holy Cross to take two shots on goal all game.
The Knights got off to a fast start, as junior forward Riley Tiernan scored in the 5th minute thanks to an assist from sophomore midfielder Allie Post. Senior forward Allison Lowrey added to Rutgers' lead in the 13th minute after successfully converting her penalty kick past Julia Walsh.
The Knights would not score in the second half but still had the majority of the chances. Rutgers attempted 11 shots in the second half and limited the Crusaders to one shot on goal. The Knights were sharp on defense throughout the game, helping them secure the win.
Holy Cross played a physical game, committing 16 fouls and receiving five yellow cards.
"It's always difficult attacking a team that sits in," said head coach Mike O'Neill. "There's not a lot of space to play, so sometimes you force it, and it takes away confidence. We need to stick to the way we play, and I felt, at times, we did that and created chances. Now we just need to get a little better at the execution."
The victory extended the Knights' undefeated streak in season-opening games to 22 years.
Rutgers returned to Yurcak Field yesterday and lost a close game with the Pride (1-1, 0-0), as the Knights were unable to capitalize on their chances on goal.
The first half was a close contest between both teams, and neither side could break the deadlock.
The game remained defensive and scoreless for most of the second half until Olivia Pearse shot the ball in the top left corner of the goal in the 87th minute to score the late winner for Hofstra.
Rutgers took nine more shots than the Pride, but the Knights were unable to take advantage of their scoring opportunities in front of goal. Mackenzie Sullivan made five crucial saves for Hofstra.
The Pride also played a physical game against Rutgers, committing nine fouls and receiving two yellow cards in the match. The Knights only committed one foul in the match.
Rutgers will look to get back into the win column when it travels to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on North Carolina State this Thursday.
"It's a tough loss, but we have got to learn from it, pick ourselves up and get ready for the next game because the next game is the most important game," O'Neill said.
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