Soccer field

Rutgers Olympic Sports Diary: Fall 2022 Season Preview | Will women’s soccer and field hockey defend the Big Ten titles?

College sports are back in Piscataway.

Rutgers Athletics officially begins its 2022-23 campaign Thursday night when the women’s soccer team takes on New Mexico in Albuquerque. The contest will kick off a fall season that will feature seven teams in five sports, including two programs looking to defend the historic Big Ten titles they won a year ago.

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NJ Advance Media will track the progress of each Olympic sports program throughout the season with a weekly digest.

In this inaugural edition, we break down each team’s outlook heading into the 2022 season:

Women’s football

Arguably the most successful program in the department since the school joined the Big Ten in 2014, head coach Mike O’Neill’s squad is once again filled with talent entering a season with high expectations.

A year after winning the first Big Ten title in school history with a perfect 10-0-0 run throughout the regular season and reaching the second University Cup in program history, the Scarlet Knights were picked by league coaches to repeat their title and ranked. No. 6 nationally in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Women’s Division I Preseason Poll. They return a number of key contributors, including Kearny native Meagan McClelland in goal and Big Ten Freshman of the Year Riley Tiernan in the lead.

Schedule this week: @New Mexico Thursday, @UNLV Sunday, both games will be played in Albuquerque.

Field hockey

The defending Big Ten Tournament Champions are looking to defend their title and build on the biggest season in program history.

In addition to the historic tournament win, head coach Meredith Civico’s side finished the 2021 season with a 19-4 record – including 13 wins over ranked opponents – earning them a second-place finish in the standings. of the Big Ten regular season and a historic No. 1 seed overall in the NCAA Tournament. They added the program’s third win at the NCAA Tournament before a shootout loss to Liberty in the Elite Eight ended their campaign.

Rutgers will have to replace many key pieces of last season’s squad, including Big Ten Player of the Year Gianna Glatz in goal, experienced fullback Kerrie Burns, top scorer Milena Redlingshoefer and the veteran. midfielders Katie Larmour and Gianna Mancini.

Schedule this week: No games. The season kicks off next weekend with two games at the Bauer Track and Field Complex against Duke (Friday) and Saint Joseph (Sunday).

men’s football

Entering his third season at the helm, Jim McElderry’s side are looking to build on a pair of campaigns with promising starts, including a 7-0-1 run to kick off 2021 that led to the winning debut season since 2015, the last Scarlet Knight team to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

The Scarlet Knights return their top five scorers from last fall (Jackson Temple, Nico Rosamilia, Ola Maeland, Pablo Avila, Ritchie Barry) along with key pieces like midfielder Matthew Acosta and defenders Thomas Devizio, Chris Tiao and Cole Sotak.

“We have a ton of competition for playing time. It’s a good problem to have,” McElderry said in a preseason press conference. “That’s what will keep me on my toes all season long. … I feel like our roster is as good as it has been in a long time.

Schedule this week: No games. The season begins next weekend with two games in Omaha, Nebraska against Omaha (Thursday) and Creighton (Sunday).

Volleyball

Heading into her third season, head coach Caitlin Schweihofer’s job hasn’t gotten any easier. The Big Ten is loaded again — the league has seven teams in the AVCA Top 25 preseason poll — and the Scarlet Knights, who went 0-20 in conference last fall, are expected to remain bottom of the conference.

But Rutgers is making progress in some areas. After hosting games at Jersey Mike’s Arena for the first time in program history last fall, the Scarlet Knights are currently expected to host at least 11 more this year.

“It just shows the support that Rutgers still has for this volleyball program,” Schweihofer said at the Big Ten volleyball media day earlier this month. “We were definitely behind in terms of facilities and some other things that some of our cohorts had already had. But Rutgers has really shown since I’ve been there the promotion of our sport and the investment they’ve made in it. And getting us into the arena for matches is one of those major things they’ve done for us. Very grateful for that.

Schedule this week: No games. The season kicks off next weekend with three games in Charleston, South Carolina at the College Of Charleston Tournament against Fresno State (Friday), The Citadel (Saturday) and College Of Charleston (Sunday).

Cross country

The men’s and women’s teams will begin their season on Friday, September 2 at the Lehigh Invitational. Each team replaces its best athletes from last season; Patrick Walsh for men, Olympia Martin for women. Alex Carlson, who had a strong first season last fall, is a name to watch.

Schedule this week: No meeting. The season begins Friday, September 2 at the Lehigh Invitational.

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Brian Fonseca can be reached at [email protected].