The no. 21 Rutgers women’s soccer team is peaking at the right time. They won its third game in a row on Thursday night, defeating no. 16 Michigan 1-0 in Ann Arbor. Junior Nneka Moneme has now scored the game winning goal in all three matches and sophomore goalkeeper Meagan McClelland notched her third consecutive shutout and eleventh overall this season.
Moneme scored her team leading ninth goal in the 44th minute, as junior Amirah Ali started it by finding senior Brittany LaPlant, who sent a well placed lead pass on the right side of the pitch. Moneme was able to outrun Michigan defenders and buried a shot into the far post from about 6 yards out. All three players used one touch each to produce the beautiful sequence to deliver the lone goal of the night.
Michigan put a lot of pressure on the Rutgers defense, holding a 14-7 advantage with shots and a 3-1 edge with corner kicks. However, the Scarlet Knights backline held firm and McClelland registered five saves in the victory. The host Wolverines had won four straight Big Ten games with a combined 13 goals entering this contest, but they couldn’t break through against a RU defense that has allowed just 0.53 goals per game this season.
The loss dropped no. 16 Michigan to 12-4-1 overall and 7-2-1 in Big Ten play, while Rutgers improved to 13-2-2 and 7-2-1 in conference action. It was a huge result as RU now owns the tiebreaker over the Wolverines with the head to head victory.
The Scarlet Knights have now gone 6-0-1 in its last seven contests, producing five shutouts in the process. The win over Michigan was its second over ranked opponents this season and they remain unbeaten on the road (4-0-2).
Rutgers concludes its regular season this Sunday at Michigan State (8-8-1; 1-7-1). A win over the Spartans would clinch a second place finish and no. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, which begins the first weekend of November. Rutgers is already set to host the semifinals and championship game at Yurcak Field on November 8th & 10th.
Note: Wisconsin clinched a share of the Big Ten title on Thursday night and own the tiebreaker over Rutgers due to the head to head victory. They also have three more points with two games still to play.