It was a very important homestand for the Rutgers women's soccer team and they ended it on a high note with their biggest win of the season on Sunday. On Senior Day, Rutgers defeated first place and #12th ranked Ohio State 1-0 on a goal from sophomore Brittany LaPlant in the 83rd minute of the match. Despite being outshot 9 to 4 and the Buckeyes holding a 7 to 1 edge on corner kicks, the Scarlet Knights continued to battle and never quit. In fact, Rutgers didn't get a shot off in the first half, but in a back and forth second half, LaPlant scored the game winning goal by fighting through traffic after a pass from Colby Ciarrocca was broken up and finishing from about 10 yards out.
"I was out wide and noticed there was a space in the middle so I made a hard run. I screamed at Colby to play the ball, she ended up seeing and it was a great ball. I was able to get a touch around the defender and finish low into the corner", LaPlant said.
Her goal was the 28th of the season for Rutgers, with 21 scored by freshmen or sophomores.
Goalkeeper Casey Murphy registered her 12th shutout of the season and made four saves in the victory. It ended Ohio State's six game winning streak and was just their second loss in Big Ten play this season. The Buckeyes still sit atop the conference standings with 21 points and a 7-2 record, while moving to 12-3-1 overall.
Rutgers is now 4-2-3 in Big Ten play with 15 points, good for fifth place with two games to play. At 10-2-4 overall and now 2-0-2 against ranked opponents, Rutgers should move back into the United Coaches Poll this week. On Thursday, the Scarlet Knights played #13 Penn State to a scoreless draw. Entering the weekend, all three teams were in the latest RPI Rankings Top 20, with Penn State at #14, Ohio State at #16, and Rutgers at #20.
It was great to see the program secure such a big victory on Senior Day, when Colby Ciarrocca, Casey Murphy, Courtney Norton, Christy Monroy, and Briana Scarola were honored.
"To get a victory like this on Senior Day, it's perfect," said head coach Mike O'Neill. "When I look at the five players leaving us, this program is built around their character, their talent, their leadership. They have been involved in a lot of big games like today. It's a tribute to them."
The departing group of players have accomplished a lot In their careers, but there is plenty of work still to do with the postseason soon approaching. Rutgers will next play at Indiana on Saturday.