The Rutgers women’s soccer team opened the 2017 season on Friday night with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Loyola Marymount. It marked the return of star goalkeeper Casey Murphy, who registered her 30th career shutout in her first game on the banks since the 2015 season, after a year away with multiple US National teams. On Sunday, her teammates made it easy for her, as Rutgers suffocated Monmouth’s offense and they failed to register one shot the entire game. On the flip side, Rutgers continued to showcase their versatile attack and topped their effort with a dominant 4-0 victory over the visiting Hawks.
Rutgers was relentless from the start, as freshman forward Amirah Ali pushed the pace on a breakaway and was fouled in the box. Sophomore midfielder Taylor Aylmer calmly put the penalty shot in the back of the net and the Scarlet Knights had a 1-0 lead just eight minutes into the match.
Junior Kenie Wright dribbled through three defenders and finished with her first goal of the season, giving Rutgers a 2-0 lead right before halftime.
In the 60th minute, Wright’s corner found senior captain Colby Ciarrocca, the returning leading scorer from last season, who headed it in for her first goal of 2017. Ciarrocca then set up sophomore forward Carina Hendley on a breakaway goal that capped off the blow out win. Hendley has scored in both games so far this season.
Rutgers took 22 shots in the contest and also blanked Monmouth on corner kick attempts, while taking 4 of their own.
"There were no shots allowed today, so that is great from our defense," said senior forward Colby Ciarrocca. "We always talk about denying long balls and denying shots. And that is how we keep a shutout. Knowing that our defense is being so strong behind us, it gives the attack a lot of confidence to go forward."
#21 Rutgers hopes to continue their dominance on the young 2017 season when they resume action this Sunday, August 27th at 1pm against #14 UConn, who open their season Monday at Syracuse and host Yale Friday night. Rutgers will have the entire week to prepare. The two former Big East rivals met last year at UConn, with Rutgers upsetting the then #10 Huskies 2-0. Sunday’s contest should be the first true test for the Scarlet Knights this season.