The Rutgers field hockey team faced off against Harvard in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. The Scarlet Knights (15-2, 6-2) fell to the Crimson (13-3, 7-0) by a score of 2-1 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Here are three takeaways from the season-ending loss.
No. 6 Rutgers was dominant in attack and created several scoring opportunities throughout the contest. The Knights had a 16-6 lead in shots and a 6-4 lead in penalty corners.
Most of Rutgers' shots went wide or were saved by No. 8 Harvard's Tessa Shahbo. Shahbo had a strong performance between the posts as she made six saves.
A beautiful play leads to a beautiful goal
The Knights were trailing 2-0 in the fourth period, but a well-executed goal put them back in the game with approximately 5 minutes left to play. The goal came off the stick of graduate student forward Marique Dieudonne, with an assist from junior midfielder Lucy Bannatyne. Bannatyne sent a pass into the shooting circle to Dieudonne, who slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Dieudonne's 7th goal of the season showed the chemistry that Rutgers has and how the team is able to effectively pass the ball.
A fight until the end
The Knights battled with the Crimson throughout the entire contest. Rutgers did not let up its drive as it pushed forward to create scoring chances and get back into the game.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Sophia Howard recorded two saves. Winter, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and redshirt senior back Iris Langejans, the Big Ten Player of the Year, played the entire game on defense while also contributing in attack.
Though the Knights' time was brief in North Carolina, the future is bright for the program. Rutgers has many younger players that could return next season, including Winter, freshman back Olivia Beattie and sophomore midfielder Ava Cickavage.
The Knights will look to build off their NCAA Tournament berth and Big Ten Tournament run in the upcoming 2024 season.
"I’m proud of the team’s effort and the fight they showed," said head coach Meredith Civico. "We’re disappointed in the result, but this group definitely had a great season. We had great consistency all season."
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