PISCATAWAY, NJ – Field Hockey No. 20 Rutgers will travel to College Park, Md., for a Sunday showdown against the Maryland Terrapins. The 4 p.m. game will be nationally televised on Big Ten Network, with Brendan Gulick and Jeanne Shin-Cooper on the call. Rutgers enters the game 7-6 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten, while No. 2 Maryland is 13-1 overall and leads the conference with an undefeated 6-0 mark in games of championship.
The team was balanced offensively, with their 19 goals coming from nine different players. Of those nine, seven have multiple goals, while three natives of the Netherlands (Iris Langejans, Marique Dieudonne and Indy van Ek) share the team lead with three goals. Langejans leads the team with four assists and 10 points.
Last weekend, RU earned their highest-ranked victory of the season on Saturday in a massive win, knocking out the No. 3 ranked and defending national champion Northwestern Wildcats, 2-1. Indy van Ek and Iris Langejans scored goals in the first quarter for RU, and strong team defense throughout kept that scoreline going. The pair each won a weekly Big Ten award for their heroics, and Langejans took home the first National Team of the Season award as National Defensive Player of the Week through the NFHCA.
“Our victory over Northwestern is when everything fell into place”, Bridy Molyneaux said. “To do it in front of so many of our alumni was really awesome. The way we played in the game, both on offense and defense, that was what Rutgers field hockey was. It felt like we We were finally all in, all together. We are looking to maintain this success.
The game was part of RU’s weekend full of celebrations in honor of the 50e Anniversary of Title IX. The Scarlet Knights, who wore special Title IX warm-ups before the game, also hosted a large number of alumni for a pre-game brunch and post-game barbecue. The large group of alumni, which spans several generations, were recognized before the game when the anthem was released and helped create a raucous atmosphere that fueled the team into victory.
RU made a spectacular effort to retain Northwestern’s Bente Baekers, who entered the game with 18 goals in 12 games, leading the country. RU held them scoreless for only the third time this season and scoreless for only the second time.
The win over No. 3 Northwestern represented Rutgers’ fourth ranked win of the season and highest overall. The win tied a previous win over No. 3 Northwestern for the highest-ranked regular season win in RU program history. The only top-tier win for RU came last season against No. 2 Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game.
RU now has four wins in the last five meetings with Northwestern, and every win has come with Northwestern ranked No. 4 or higher. After starting the all-time series 0-5, RU are now 5-3 in the last eight meetings of the series. After a record 13 ranked wins program last season, RU now has 36 all-time ranked wins, all under the head coach. Meredith Civico and 33 of them to come since the start of the 2017 season.
In 13 games, RU are 5-4 at home and 2-2 away. In those 13 matches, RU faced nine ranked teams in an extremely tough schedule. The Scarlet Knights’ last two games have come against the nationally ranked No. 3 team, which launched a six-game streak to conclude the regular season against ranked teams, including four against the top five.
After graduating 10 seniors from last year’s first-ever Big Ten tournament winning team, including eight starters, RU has a new look for the lineup this year. RU presents a traditional starting formation of Iris LangejansPuck Winter, Elise Pettisani and Isabella Mancini at the back, Guillermina Causarano, Vicky Jure and Lucy Bannatyne in midfield, and Marique Dieudonne, Bridy Molyneaux and Rachel Houston up front.
Of that group of 11 starters, four of them (Winter, Pettisani, Jure and Dieudonne) entered the season with zero career college games. Mancini and Howard, two of the team’s captains alongside Causarano, had combined for just five career starts at the start of the year.
“The win against Northwestern was about proving to us that if we stick to our game plan and play with confidence, passion and pride, we can beat everyone,” the head coach said. Meredith Civico said. “We want to peak as a team in October and that’s what we do, play our best hockey at this time of year. We have a tough schedule ahead and we have opportunities to win other big games. . We’re taking it one game at a time and playing our best hockey all season at the right time. I’m really proud of the group and where they are at the moment and really excited for this next set of games.”
Maryland enters the weekend 13-1 overall and 6-0 in the Big Ten. The Terps’ only loss this season came in double overtime at No. 7 Princeton. Since then, UM have been on a six-game winning streak and beat their opponents 28-4 after an 11-0 win on Tuesday against Georgetown. Their record includes seven ranked wins this season.
Hope Rose, an All-American last year as a rookie, leads the team with 27 points. She shares the team lead in goals with Brown transfer Danielle van Rootselaar as each has 10. Bibi Donraadt, an all-regions first team selection last year, has eight goals and nine assists for 25 dots. Duke transfer Leah Crouse added seven goals and four assists for 18 points. In goal, Paige Kieft has a .606 save percentage and a 1.42 goals-against average, improving those marks to .611 and 1.16 in conference play only. The Terps are in the top three nationally in goals, assists, points, scoring average and scoring margin.
Maryland holds a 34-4-1 all-time series advantage against Rutgers. However, the Scarlet Knights picked up a historic victory in the last meeting with the program’s first victory over the Terps since 1998. The win was the Rutgers head coach’s first win. Meredith Civico against the school for which she won a national championship in 2005.
The win marked RU’s first victory over Maryland since 1998, the last Big Ten foe to defeat since joining the league. RU got a goal from Milena Redlingshoefer and 12 stops of Gianna Glatz to claim a 1-0 win despite being outscored 15-6 and cornered 6-0.