The Rutgers field hockey team beat Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. The Scarlet Knights (16-2, 6-2) beat the Wolverines (9-8, 3-5) by a score of 1-0.
No. 5 Rutgers came into the tournament with a flurry of recognition from the Big Ten. The Knights had three players named to the All-Big Ten First Team, with redshirt senior back Iris Langejans, redshirt sophomore back Puck Winter and junior midfielder Guillermina Causarano all receiving the honor.
Langejans was also named Big Ten Player of the Year, while Winter was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Junior midfielder Paulina Niklaus and sophomore midfielder Ava Cickavage made the All-Conference Second Team, and graduate student forward Marique Dieudonne was awarded the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
Putting individual awards aside, Rutgers prepared for battle with No. 16 Michigan.
The match between the Knights and the Wolverines was a tight contest all the way through, as neither team could gain much of an advantage.
Each team had chances, but neither could break through, as the match was scoreless until the final few minutes.
Rutgers was awarded a corner late in the game, and it finally made its mark as Niklaus scored the game-winning goal. Causarano and redshirt sophomore midfielder Vicky Jure assisted on the score.
Michigan did its best to fight back in the remaining 4:25 of the game but could not get anything past the Knights' redshirt junior goalkeeper Sophia Howard.
The clock ticked down to zero, declaring Rutgers victorious.
The Wolverines outshot the Knights 9-7 in the full 60 minutes, but that did not stop Rutgers from coming out on top.
The win puts the No. 2-seeded Knights in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament for the second time in the program's history. The last time Rutgers made it this far was in 2021, when it went on to win the whole tournament.
The Knights will play the semifinal game at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, where they will face the winner of No. 3-seeded Maryland. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
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