After finishing the 2021 season as the No. 3 ranked team in the nation, Rutgers women's soccer received a No. 6 ranking in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's Preseason Poll, released on Tuesday.
The Scarlet Knights enjoyed a record breaking season a year ago, winning their first-ever Big Ten Championship, made their 10th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and advanced to the College Cup for just the second time in program history. They set new program records including total wins, goals, assists, points, and winning streak.
At No. 6, Rutgers is the highest ranked Big Ten program in the 2022 preseason poll.
Star Power Returns For Rutgers
Rutgers lost some key members from last season's squad, but head coach Mike O'Neill will have plenty of firepower returning all over the field. In total, the Scarlet Knights return nine starters and 17 letterwinners, led by Big Ten Freshman of the Year and All-Region First Team performer Riley Tiernan and All-Region goalkeeper Meagan McClelland.
Tiernan is already a star and will be counted on tremendously this season. As a freshman, the speedy forward started every game, registering eight goals and 13 assists. McClelland is returning for another year as a graduate student. The Kearny native and team captain started every game a season ago. She will be the mainstay in net.
Junior midfielder Becci Fluchel (All-Big Ten Second Team), sophomore back Kassidy Banks (Big Ten All-Freshman Team) and sophomore midfielder Kylie Daigle (Big Ten All-Freshman Team) are others returning after receiving conference honors in 2021.
The Scarlet Knights open their season at New Mexico on Aug. 18 followed by road matches at UNLV and Providence. Their home debut at Yurcak Field in Piscataway is scheduled for Aug. 28 against Buffalo.
Jersey Sporting News will provide coverage of Rutgers sports through the 2022-23 season.
Gregg has lived in New Jersey is entire life and is a current resident of Somerset County. As a huge sports fan, he is passionate about NJ sports at all levels. The former owner of Double G Sports, Gregg has vast experience in sports media and journalism.