PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 2, 2013) – Rutgers women’s soccer returns to Piscataway on Friday, Oct. 4 for the first of three-straight American Athletic Conference contests at Yurcak Field. In their only game action this weekend, the Scarlet Knights will face Memphis at 7 p.m.
The match is “Youth Team Night,” as members of youth soccer clubs are encouraged to wear their jerseys to the contest. The squad will participate in a post-match autograph signing for fans in attendance.
“It’s great to just prepare for one match on the weekend,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “In the loss to Louisville [Sunday, Sept. 29], although they finished well, our team sees that they turned the ball over in spots where it’s not necessary. Possession with a purpose has definitely been a focus.
“The team is in great spirits. We all know that we are very close to getting it right. The biggest thing is that Memphis is coming in at 0-2 in the league, so you know every aspect of their preparation and what they’re saying is that this is a must-win for them. If we’re not prepared for that mentality, it wouldn’t be in our best interest. We have to prepare as if this is a must-win for us.”
The Scarlet Knights look to get back on track after having their five-match unbeaten streak (4-0-1) snapped by Louisville on Sept. 29. At Yurcak Field this season, RU is 6-0 and has outscored the opposition a combined 16-2. The team scored at least three goals in three of those matches.
Junior forward Stef Scholz (South Hackensack, N.J.) maintains her goal lead with six entering the weekend, as redshirt senior Jonelle Filigno (Mississauga, Canada) and freshman Madison Tiernan (Voorhees, N.J.) are tied with five.
Filigno broke the school’s all-time record for career game-winning goals on Friday, Sept. 27 against Cincinnati. She scored the match’s lone goal on a Scholz assist for her 16th career game-winner en route to a 1-0 RU win.
Last Time Out
RU (8-2-1, 1-1 AAC) enters the weekend No. 26 in the latest RPI rankings, as it looks to improve its standing in the league. The Scarlet Knights split their opening weekend of American Athletic Conference play, defeating Cincinnati, 1-0, on Friday, Sept. 27 before falling to Louisville, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 29).
In defeating Cincinnati, Crooks earned his 150th win in less than 14 seasons at Rutgers.
“I guess that just means I’ve been here a while,” Crooks said. “It’s rewarding to know that so many of our kids coming through the program are in successful business, many of them are coaching and many of them are still playing. The credit goes to my staff, especially to Mike O’Neill who’s been here since the start and Meg Ryan who has been here 11 years as a player and coach. There’s great stability in the staff. Those wins are calculated over the course of time and involve a whole lot of people, including my own family who has been so great and supportive with the amount of time I’ve been away from home. It’s not a one-man show, that’s for sure.”
With three points after the opening weekend, RU is currently in fourth place behind No. 24/22 UCF (8-2-1, 1-0 AAC), which earned a No. 14 ranking in the second RPI rankings of the season.
Memphis (7-4, 0-2 AAC) visits Piscataway hungry for its first conference victory after suffering a pair of heartbreaking defeats in its league-opening weekend. The Tigers lost, 3-2, to Louisville in overtime on Friday, Sept. 27 before dropping a 3-2 2OT match to Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 29.
The Tigers are currently ninth in the league ahead of last place Houston (1-4-3).
Valerie Sanderson leads Memphis with nine goals this season, a mark tied for first in the conference. Christabel Oduro is not far off with seven goals, good for fourth in the American. The two have 20 and 17 points, respectively. Kaitlyn Atkins has found goal scorers all over the field this season and is second in the American with seven assists.
Maryse Bard-Martel has played every minute in net for the Tigers this season and owns a .763 save percentage and a 1.24 goals against average (GAA). She is second in the league with 45 saves.
Memphis enters the match on a two-game losing streak - its first this season. The match is the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
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