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#16 Rutgers Women's Soccer Defeats #12 Wisconsin In OT To Rebound From Loss To Minnesota

After suffering its first setback this season, the Scarlet Knights responded in a big way

The Rutgers women’s soccer team suffered its first defeat of the 2017 season this past Friday night, but rebounded with an important win over a ranked opponent on Sunday.

In a rematch of last season’s Big Ten Championship game, Minnesota (7-2-3; 3-1-1) bested Rutgers again with a 2-1 win at Yurcak Field on Friday night. It was just the third home defeat for the Scarlet Knights in four plus seasons under head coach Mike O’Neill. The Golden Gophers are the only opponent to score twice against Rutgers this season and were the last to do so previously, dating back to the title game last year.

Minnesota scored first in the 35th minute, but Rutgers responded quickly, as freshman Alaysia Lane scored a beauty from the top of the box, putting it in the upper right corner of the goal.

In the second half, Amirah Ali had a shot fly just over the top crossbar andColby Ciarrocca hit the post, just missing a tie breaking goal. The game remained knotted at 1-1 all the way until the 87th minute, when Minnesota found the back of the net, handing Rutgers a heartbreaking defeat. Head coach Mike O’Neill spoke about the difference in the game:

"Tonight it was two good teams," said head coach Mike O'Neill. "I thought at times on the attacking side we did some good things with the ball. When we keep the ball we are a very good team, but we need to not make as many unforced errors. We created chances to win the game, but were unlucky. And chances we gave up they capitalized on."

While it was a disappointing loss, Rutgers had to regroup quickly, as they took on #12 Wisconsin less than 48 hours later. The game was televised live on BTN and it was a hard fought battle, with neither team scoring in regulation. Rutgers dominated play and outshot the Badgers 13 to 4 and held a 6 to 2 edge on shots on goal in the game. However, the Scarlet Knights saved their best shot for last, as freshman Amirah Ali scored the game winner just 26 seconds into overtime. It was assisted on by junior defender Kenie Wright and senior forward Colby Ciarrocca.

It was a dramatic and much needed win for Rutgers, who keep their Big Ten title dreams alive with the victory. Head coach Mike O’Neill talked about his team’s mentality after the game:

“We talked about making sure that when we have opportunities that we find the pass and make good decisions with that pass. That is exactly what happened,” said head coach Mike O’Neill. “Then it calls for moments of individual brilliance in these types of games and that is what happened with the finish by Amirah.

“We felt through the second half that it was coming. The team stayed focused and didn’t worry about not getting it in regulation. They said they will get it in this period. And then they went for it and got it.”

Rutgers is 2-0-1 against ranked opponents this season and now have a record of 9-1-2 overall, with a 3-1-1 record in Big Ten play. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy netted her tenth shutout of the season and thirty-ninth of her career on Sunday. Under O’Neill, Rutgers is now 38-3-4 when playing at home at Yurcak Field in three plus seasons.

The Scarlet Knights will now prepare for their second Big Ten road trip of the season. They take on Iowa (5-5-1; 0-3-1) this Thursday, October 5th and then visit Nebraska (7-3-2; 1-1-2) on Sunday, October 8th, which will be televised live on ESPNU at 4 p.m. ET.