Rutgers (11-3-5) At Duke (14-3-2)
How To Watch, Listen, News & Notes:
Where: Durham, North Carolina
Kick-off: Friday, November 9th at 7:00 p.m. ET
Radio: WRSU 88.7 FM
RPI Rankings: Rutgers #30; Duke #11
Series History: Duke leads 3-1; Rutgers won the last meeting 2-0 in the First Round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
Rutgers NCAA Tournament History Note: The Scarlet Knights are playing in their seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament. They’ve advanced to the Second Round four years in a row and five of the past six years.
Similar Conference Standing: Both Rutgers and Duke finished in second place in their respective conferences, the Big Ten and ACC. While they each only lost one league match in the regular season, they both lost in the Quarterfinals of their conference tournaments.
Record vs. Ranked Foes: Rutgers 1-0-1; Duke 2-2-2
Overtime Record: Rutgers 6-0-5; Duke 0-0-2
Common Opponents: Rutgers 1-0-2; Duke 2-1-0
Ohio State - Rutgers tied 0-0, Duke won 2-0; Illinois - Rutgers won 1-0 in OT, Duke lost 2-1; Nebraska - Rutgers tied 1-1, Duke won 3-1
Goals Per Game: Rutgers 1.47; Duke 1.89
Shots Per Game: Rutgers 13.2; Duke 13.5
Goals Against Average: Rutgers 0.68 ; Duke 0.74
Shots Against Average: Rutgers 7.7; Duke 8.5
Key Offensive Players
Duke: Kayla McCoy - 10 goals, 7 assists, 27 points; Taylor Racioppi - 9 goals, 1 assist, 19 points; Karlie Paschall - 4 goals, 5 assists, 13 points; Marykate McGuire - 3 goals, 6 assists, 12 points; Ella Stevens - 1 goal, 10 assists, 12 points
Rutgers: Amirah Ali - 10 goals, 3 assists, 23 points; Nicole Whitley - 3 goals, 7 assists, 13 points; Nneka Moneme - 3 goals, 2 assists, 8 points
Keys To The Game
Both teams enter this matchup well rested, with Duke having the advantage of playing at home. The Blue Devils are the more explosive team, having scored 8 more goals than Rutgers in the same amount of games this season. They also have two primary scorers in Kayla McCoy and Taylor Racioppi, who combined for 19 of Duke’s 36 goals this season.
Rutgers needs to get Big Ten’s second leading scorer Amirah Ali going in this contest. After scoring 10 goals in her first 14 games, she has been held scoreless in her past five. Hopefully, the almost two week break in between games has given her an opportunity to rest and refresh herself for the NCAA Tournament.
Duke has scored 24 of its 36 goals this season in the second half, so Rutgers would benefit from a fast start and playing from a lead after halftime. The Scarlet Knights are ranked 27th in the country in goals against average and goalkeeper Meagan McClelland was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year while registering 8 shutouts this season.
Rutgers is battle tested and tied and NCAA record with 11 overtime games. They didn’t lose any of them, so they’ll be confident in themselves if this contest heads to extra time. These are two good teams and are pretty evenly matched. In 19 matches, Duke has only allowed multiple goals four times, while Rutgers has only twice, including none in Big Ten play. I think the veteran defense of the Scarlet Knights, which includes Kenie Wright, Madison Pogarch, Amanda Visco, and Chantelle Swaby will be an advantage in this game. They have a lot of experience and won’t get rattled easily, which will help the freshman McClelland in the biggest game of her young career. Rutgers will need to score to win, obviously, but the defense can keep them in the game throughout and if it did go into extra time, it would be appropriate with the way this season has gone.
It really comes down to Rutgers ability to convert scoring chances that they have in this game. They’ve only taken 7 less shots than Duke all season, but have 8 less goals. While they typically outshoot opponents, Rutgers may not be able to control the pace as much against the talented Blue Devils. They’ll need to make their shots count as much as possible, especially playing on the road. Duke is obviously favored in this matchup, but if Rutgers plays the way they are capable of, they can certainly pull the upset and advance to the second round for the fifth straight season.