PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 31, 2014) – Rutgers field hockey improved to 2-0 on the season as they won their second game on the opening weekend, downing Sacred Heart 5-3.
Rutgers took the early edge in the first half, scoring three times in the opening stanza to take a 3-0 lead into halftime.
Alyssa Bull (Oakville, Ontario) got the Scarlet Knights on the board first, scoring 12 minutes into the game. Freshman Jade Dixon (Berlin, N.J.) fed a pass across the circle, and Bull finished for her first goal of the season.
Just five minutes later, Katie Champion (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.) added to the lead. Champion collected a rebound and stick-handled around the goaltender to put the ball in the net.
Playing in her first game of the season, senior captain Sophie Wright (Devizes, United Kingdom) was next to score for Rutgers. Her goal in the 32nd minute of play gave RU a 3-0 halftime lead.
Coming out of the half, Sacred Heart swung the momentum in their favor, and were able to tie the game. In a nine-minute span, the Pioneers collected goals from Danielle Gallagher, Christine Mace, and Lauren Harrison, leveling the score at 3-3 with just over 20 minutes left in the frame.
Late in the half, Rutgers stepped up, with Champion and Wright coming through again. The Scarlet Knights were able to execute well off of set pieces, taking advantage of two penalty corners to take the lead and put the game away.
With nine minutes remaining, Champion took the corner for Rutgers, than got in position to deflect in a shot from defender Sofia Walia (Surrey, British Columbia). The goal was her second of the game and put the Scarlet Knights ahead for good. Wright would add her second goal of the game just three minutes later off another penalty corner, as she deflected one home for a 5-3 final score.
“I’m happy with the way the team came back to win the game,” head coach Meredith Long said. “I’m very happy with Sophie Wright’s execution off the penalty corner, as well as Katie Champion’s. They are two players that I really have a lot of confidence in when it comes to finishing an opportunity. Both of those players have really proved to be the difference makers in some games. I’m happy with how they stepped up and executed under the pressure.”
Shevaun Hayes (Melbourne, Australia) made six saves for RU and improved to 2-0 this season. Rutgers put 13 shots on goal to nine for Sacred Heart and led 8-5 in penalty corners.
“I’m excited about how the younger players have stepped up and managed some pressure situations and been able to come out on top,” Long explained. “Moving into the Big Ten this season, there are going to be some moments that are going to be hard. If we are able to respond positively under pressure, those moments will go our way. That’s what we took from today’s game”
Next up for Rutgers are two more home games next weekend. Friday’s game is a 3 p.m. start and will be televised on BTN Plus. Sunday is a 1 p.m. start against Lafayette.
- Sofia Walia recorded three assists in the game, setting a new career high. She now leads Rutgers with seven points on the season (1 goal, 5 assists)
- Katie Champion had the first multi-goal game of her career, setting a new career high with 4 points. The game-winning goal was her third game-winner of her career.
- Sophie Wright had her third career two-goal game (previously 10/12/13 vs. Georgetown and 9/6/2013 vs. La Salle).
- Jade Dixon tallied her first collegiate point with an assist.
- Rutgers won the first two games of the season for the first time since the 2008 season. The Scarlet Knights started that season 6-0.