Before the 2023 season begin in August, Rutgers field hockey head coach said in an appearance on The Scarlet Faithful podcast that she felt really good about where her team was. Civico has to feel even better a month into the season as Rutgers is off to a program best 8-0 start. RU moved up to No. 7 in this week’s NFCHA Coaches poll. They were one of five teams to receive a vote to be No. 1 nationally.
Making the undefeated start so impressive is that the first seven victories all came on the road. The Scarlet Knights also own wins over ranked foes UConn, Princeton and Penn State. It appears the program’s overseas trip this summer certainly helped get this team ready for the challenging schedule they’ve endured so far.
This past week, goalkeeper Sophia Howard was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. She delivered back to back shutouts last week in victories against No. 12 PSU and La Salle. The New Zealand native joined teammate leading scorer Puck Winter in earning Big Ten weekly honors this season. Winter was named for the same honor the week prior. It was the first time Penn State and La Salle were held scoreless all season. Howard has been outstanding all season and is currently second in the nation with a .848 save percentage. That’s also tops in the Big Ten. She is third nationally and in the conference with a 0.56 goals against average.
Offensively, Rutgers is No. 32 nationally in averaging 2.25 goals per game with what’s been a balanced attack. Winter leads RU with seven goals and is tied with Guillermina Causarano for the team lead with 14 points. Causarano has 4 goals and a team high 6 assists this season. Marique Dieudonne and Bridy Molyneaux, who had this feature written by Jerry Carino this week, have each scored twice. Iris Langejans is third in total points with 5 after scoring once and having three assists. Lucy Bannatyne and Lucy Jure also have three assists a apiece.
Rutgers has already matched its win total from last season in the minimum amount of games played with eight. With three ranked wins, RU has defeated 21 ranked foes over the last three seasons. Civico has now led the Scarlet Knights to 41 ranked victories in her 12th season leading the program. She previously led Rutgers to the 2021 Big Ten Tournament title and NCAA Quarterfinals.
Expectations are now rising for her current team as they take face No. 18 UMass this weekend before resuming action in the top league in college field hockey. RU will play Sunday, September 24 in Amherst at 1 p.m. ET with the game streaming live on ESPN+. If the Scarlet Knights continue to play at such a high level, the sky is the limit for the rest of the 2023 season.
— Rutgers Field Hockey (@RUFieldHockey) September 19, 2023
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