The Rutgers women’s soccer team delivered a thrilling victory on Sunday at Yurcak Field with a golden goal by Amirah Ali with just 11 seconds to play in overtime to defeat Iowa. It completed a four game home stand over two consecutive weekends in which Rutgers went 1-1-2.
The win over Iowa was of the come from behind variety, as the Hawkeyes scored in the 15th minute of the game to take an early lead. Trailing well into the second half, sophomore forward Nneka Moneme tied the game for Rutgers in the 74th minute on this beautiful strike.
The game looked like it would end in a third consecutive draw for Rutgers, but star Amirah Ali delivered the golden goal right before the final horn sounded. Captain Kenie Wright served the ball into the box and Nicole Whitley dove to get a touch on it, setting up Ali for score. It was tremendous teamwork that resulted in the first Big Ten win of the season.
GAME WINNER! Amirah Ali captures the 2-1 victory for RU with assists from Kenie Wright and Nicole Whitley! pic.twitter.com/CUOeQYQeQB— RutgersWomensSoccer (@RUWSoccer) September 16, 2018
Rutgers outshot Iowa 16-6 and held a 8-3 edge on corner kicks. This was the ninth straight game that Rutgers produced more shots than its opponent. While the Scarlet Knights have scored in every game so far this season, they’ve struggled to find the net at key times in certain games.
The previous weekend, Rutgers finished non-conference play against a pair of difficult opponents. They lost 2-1 to Monmouth (5-3-1), an NCAA qualifier the past two seasons, despite owning a 13-4 shot advantage and 9-0 edge in corner kicks. They followed that up with a hard fought tie against LaSalle (5-1-1) in a rematch of last year’s NCAA First Round game that Rutgers had won. This time, the Scarlet Knights fell behind early, only to take a second half lead behind goals from Nneka Monema and Jessica Sayers, but ended up tying the match 2-2. Rutgers outshot LaSalle 31-8 in the game.
This past Friday, Rutgers opened Big Ten play at home against Nebraska (5-3-2; 1-0-1) with another come from behind effort, tying 1-1. Nebraska took the lead in the 23rd minute and led all the way until the 86th minute when captain Taylor Aylmer saved the day with this goal off of a rebound.
The Scarlet Knights outshot Nebraska 17-7 in this contest.
Overall, Rutgers is now 5-1-3 on the season and 1-0-1 in Big Ten play. Amirah Ali leads the team with 6 goals and 13 points. Nicole Whitley is having strong season as well, leading the team with 6 assists and second in points with 10. As a team, Rutgers has outshot opponents 137-59 on the season and average 2.1 goals per game. The defense, led by a veteran back line and true freshman goalkeeper Meagan McClelland, has allowed just under a goal per contest (0.89).
The Scarlet Knights now venture out on the road for three straight games over the next two weeks. They’ll travel to Maryland (3-4-3; 1-1-0) next Sunday, followed by games at #22 Wisconsin (7-1-1; 1-0-1) on September 27th and Minnesota (5-4-0; 1-1-0) on September 30th. In order to contend for a Big Ten regular season title, Rutgers will need to perform well during this road trip.