RV/no. 21 Rutgers women’s soccer needed a win in a big way after suffering back to back defeats to Wisconsin and Maryland the past two weekends. That’s exactly what they got on Thursday night, beating rival Penn State in thrilling fashion by the score of 3-2 in double overtime. Amirah Ali scored the eighth overtime goal of her career, most in program history, to win it on a penalty kick.
The game was played in pouring rain during the first half in which play was mostly even, as both teams registered 6 shots apiece. However, PSU held a 1-0 lead at the break after Kerry Abello scored in the 21st minute.
The score remained that way until Rutgers broke through in the 62nd minute. Nneke Monome found Brittany LaPlant on the edge of the box and she beat two defenders to put the ball in the back of the net along the near post.
Head coach Mike O’Neill made the perfect late game substitution with Jenna Sayers scoring off her first touch of the game in the 85th minute off a pass on the break from LaPlant. It was an impressive first goal of Sayers career, as the senior came through in the clutch.
As to be expected, Penn State increased the pressure and was able to tie the game two minutes later as Abello scored her second goal of the contest.
It remained tied 2-2 at the end of regulation and Rutgers played into overtime for the fifth time this season. In the 101st minute, Amanda Visco was taken down in the box and a penalty was called on Penn State. Ali stepped up to the big stage and converted once again for the golden goal. She is a perfect 4 for 4 on penalty kicks this season and it was her third goal in overtime in 2019.
It was a huge win for Rutgers, who were outshot 19-12 and saw Penn State hold a 10-2 edge in corner kicks on the night. Scarlet Knights goalkeeper Meagan McClelland made five saves in the victory.
These two programs have played numerous battles in recent years, including the 2015 national semifinal, and Thursday night was no exception. It was the fourth overtime contest as Big Ten foes and Rutgers now holds a 4-3-3 edge against Penn State since joining the conference in 2014.
The Scarlet Knights are now 13-1-16 since 2016 in overtime matches. The lone loss came two weeks ago to no. 13 Wisconsin (8-2-1; 4-0-0)
Rutgers is now 8-2-1 on the season and 2-2-0 in Big Ten play. Penn State fell to .500 with a 6-6-1 and 2-3-0 in conference action. RU returns home to host Northwestern (4-5-2; 2-1-1) this Sunday at 2 p.m. at Yurcak Field.