In a highly anticipated matchup against rival Penn State, the Rutgers women's soccer team looked to continue their unprecedented success against the Nittany Lions at home Thursday night. In a defensive battle, two of the best teams in the Big Ten finished the game with a scoreless draw. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy made two saves in the game for her 11th shutout of the season and 40th of her career. IIt was just the second time all season that Penn State (9-3-2; 5-1-2) was held scoreless.
"It's good to get back to getting shutouts. It is something we emphasize in this program," said Murphy. "It says a lot about our defense to shutout a very good Penn State team. We worked on it in practice all week, worked on having good habits and denying all shots and services. And I think we did well with that today."
Rutgers held an 13-11 edge in shots in the game, as well as a 3-2 edge in shots on goal. Senior forward and captain, Colby Ciarrocca, had the best chance for the Scarlet Knights, hitting the top of the crossbar with a shot in the 23rd minute of the game.
It was a back and forth pace in the second half, with both teams pushing the action. Penn State held a 9-5 advantage on corner kicks and registered a shot on goal right at the end of the second overtime, but the Rutgers defense held strong.
Rutgers is now 1-0-2 against Penn State since the start of last season and are 3-2-2 against them since Mike O'Neill became head coach in 2014. Penn State has lost just five conference games during that stretch and three have come at the feet of Rutgers.
In addition to the game being shown live on the Big Ten Network, the team welcomed Rutgers legend and reigning two-time FIFA Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd, back home at Yurcak Field.
Was back at Rutgers enjoying the women’s soccer match and spending time with my RU peeps. #NoNeedToAnalyzeEveryLittleThing— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) October 13, 2017
Lloyd took a picture with the team after the game, as well as with the coaching staff, Pat Hobbs, and Sarah Baumgartner. Click the arrow on the first picture on the middle right side to see the second one.
It's great to see Lloyd back at Rutgers supporting the women's team. Head coach Mike O'Neill was an assistant for the program when Lloyd starred on the banks during the 2001-2004 seasons.
Rutgers (9-2-4; 3-2-3) now prepares to face #12 Ohio State (12-2-1; 7-1-0) in another important contest on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Buckeyes beat Maryland last night 2-0 and have won six games in a row. They are also the only other team to shutout Penn State this season besides Rutgers. Sunday's contest will also mark senior day for the program, as Casey Murphy, Colby Ciarrocca, Christy Monroy, Courtney Norton, and Brianna Scarola will be honored.