PISCATAWAY, N.J. – No. 13 Rutgers field hockey (12-4, 4-4 Big Ten) earned its second top-ten win of the season with an outstanding defensive effort, getting a 1-0 shutout victory over No. 7 Iowa (12-5, 4-4 Big Ten). Nikki Profita scored the lone goal and Giana Glatz made three saves, including a huge late stop of a penalty stroke to secure Rutgers' eighth shutout of the season.
From that moment, the RU defense was tasked with holding that lead. The Hawkeyes pushed hard for an equalizer, using a 6-0 shots advantage in the second half to lead to a 10-3 margin on the day. Iowa also led 8-1 in penalty corners, six of those coming in the second half.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Rutgers got on the board in the opening half, taking advantage of their only penalty corner of the day 21 minutes into the contest. The corner was inserted and stopped at the top of the circle. Daphne Groothuis shot it and Nikki Profita was perfectly positioned to redirect it in for the game's only goal.
The crucial moments for the Scarlet Knights defense came in the final 10 minutes of the game. With nine minutes remaining, the visitors were granted a penalty stroke. Katie Birch stepped to the dot and launched a shot towards the top corner, but Gianna Glatz elevated to make a spectacular save.
Following that, the Hawkeyes earned five corners, but the defensive penalty corner unit held strong and the home team went home as the victors.
"This was a great result. We knew it was going to be a tough game. Iowa is a really good team this year. We're a really good team this year. So we knew it would be a tight game. I'm really proud of the team for executing on our chances and being really tough and gritty defensively. We've proved that we can compete with anybody, and that gives us a lot of confidence going into the Big Ten Tournament."
- Rutgers coach Meredith Civico on the win
"The last moments were really nerve-wracking, but we have so much confidence in that defensive penalty corner unit. We had scouted Iowa and we really knew this game could come down to that. The coaching staff helped do an excellent job in training this week preparing them for that, and we knew that they were really good and ready for that."
- Civico on the final minutes of the game
"It was great to get that goal early and be up one in that early phase of the game. It was critical for us to keep that intensity going. That was a huge early boost of confidence. Winning this is awesome. This team doesn't have any limitations this year on what we can accomplish, and winning this game really shows that."
- Senior Midfielder Nikki Profita
"This win puts us in such a great place, knowing that Iowa is a top-10 team. This shows what we can do against those quality of teams. I knew if I saved that stroke, I could keep us in the game. The team had my back, and I had to have theirs. We got it done and now we can continue to feed off this energy and we know how to get the job done."
- Sophomore goalkeeper Gianna Glatz
- Nikki Profita has four goals in the last four games. After entering this season with zero career goals, she now has eight tallies this season, with seven of those coming in the past eight games.
- In Big Ten play, Profita now leads the team with six goals and is tied with Groothuis with 14 points.
- Daphne Groothuis is now tied for the third-most assists in a single season in Rutgers history (13) and tied for sixth-most points in a season (35).
- Rutgers has now defeated five ranked teams on the year: No. 6 Princeton, No. 7 Iowa, No. 15 Northwestern, No. 18 St. Joe's and No. 19 Delaware.
- This is the team's eighth shutout of the season. That's tied for the most in the nation.
- Eight shutouts are the most RU has had in a single season since 1995.
- This is the third 1-0 win of the season.
- This was just the second time in 17 games that Iowa had been shutout.
- With four Big Ten victories, RU set a program record for conference wins since joining the league.
- Rutgers has defeated Iowa three straight years, with the Hawkeyes as a ranked program each time.
Senior Day is Sunday against American, as RU will honor Nikki Profita, Linde van Schaik and Megan Cunningham in a pregame ceremony. Following that is the Big Ten Tournament next weekend, with seeding to be determined following Sunday's games.