PISCATAWAY, N.J. (September 5, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s soccer team will face its toughest test of the season this weekend, when it battles No. 5 Virginia and perennial national contender William and Mary in the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic, held in Charlottesville, Va.
RU (4-0) will square off with the Cavaliers (4-0) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6 to open up the weekend before facing William and Mary (1-1-1) at noon on Sunday, Sept. 8. The Scarlet Knights are off to their second 4-0 start in the last two seasons and sixth in program history.
“We are very well aware of the challenge this weekend,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “Virginia is one of the top, if not the top team in the country…and William and Mary, year in and year out has been a Top 25 program. I’ve made an effort each year to go on the road and play independent matches that feature some of the traditional top programs. It is a great experience for our players and really helps prepare for our conference schedule.”
The Scarlet Knights stuck to their winning ways last weekend against Delaware (Aug. 30) and Fordham (Sept. 1), outscoring the opposition a combined 4-0 en route to a pair of shutout victories. Redshirt senior Jess Janosz (Ringwood, N.J.), who earned a spot on the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll earlier the week, posted five saves in the clean sheets and has now gone 347:25 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.
Redshirt senior Jonelle Filigno (Mississauga, Canada) scored both game-winners in RU’s 2-0 weekend, earning her a spot on the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll for the first time this season. Filigno leads the team with three goals and seven points this season.
Freshmen Madison Tiernan (Voorhees, N.J.) and Jessica Puchalski (South Brunswick, N.J.) also scored goals in the 3-0 win over Fordham (Sept 1). It was Tiernan’s second of the season and the first of Puchalski’s career.
No. 5 Virginia enters its matchup with Rutgers playing some of the best soccer of any program in the country. The Cavaliers have defeated two top-10 opponents in their first four matches, earning a 4-0 victory against then-No. 9 Santa Clara and scoring a 5-1 win against then-No. 7 Penn State.
Overall, Virginia has outscored opponents 16-3 to start the season and surrendered just eight shots. Offensively, four Cavaliers have recorded at least two goals through four matches, with Brittany Ratcliffe leading the way with four caps. Morgan Ryan, a 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy candidate, is second on the team with seven points after notching two goals and a team-high three assists.
Three different netminders have seen time in between the pipes for Virginia, with Morgan Stearns and Danielle DeLisle each earning two starts to start the season. Stearns has made three saves and boasts a 0.50 goals against average (GAA).
RU and UVA played less than a year ago in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, as the Cavaliers took a 6-1 win to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Despite losing its last two matches against Virginia, RU holds a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series. The Scarlet Knights last defeated Virginia, 3-2, on Oct. 8, 1988.
Scouting William and Mary
The Tribe enter the Virginia Nike Soccer Classic with just one victory, but could very well be undefeated if not for a pair of tight overtime decisions to No. 13 Georgetown (L, 2-1 in OT) and George Mason (T, 1-1 2OT). The Hoyas’ Kaitlin Brenn proved to be the difference in the Georgetown match, scoring the game-tying strike in the 73rd minute before winning the game six minutes into the overtime period.
William and Mary outshot George Mason, 22-17, and totaled 11 corner kicks to the Patriots’ seven. The Tribe played from behind for much of the match before Samantha Cordum tied the game in the 65th minute to lead to a 1-1 result.
Emory Camper scored two goals in William and Mary’s 3-0 blanking of High Point in its most recent matchup, as the forward leads the team with three strikes this season. Tribe goalkeeper Caroline Casey has recorded 13 saves and owns 0.91 goals against average (GAA) through three matches, good for second in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
All-time, RU is 1-5 against William and Mary, with its only win coming in the last meeting between the two schools on Oct. 4, 1998, by a 2-1 margin. The two schools first played in RU’s inaugural season in 1984, as the Tribe took a 2-1 victory.
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