No. 9 Rutgers women’s soccer earned an important road victory on Thursday night in defeating Minnesota (5-3-3; 1-3-0) by the final score of 2-1. The three points maintains a perfect start to Big Ten play as the Scarlet Knights are the only team in the conference to win their first three games in league play. They sit tied with Purdue atop the Big Ten standings with 9 points, but the Boilermakers have one loss having played one more game than RU.
All-American Frankie Tagliaferri scored in the 9th minute of the game off a pass from fellow All-American Amirah Ali. It was Tagliaferri’s 100th point of her storied collegiate career and it came in her 100th career game. She is now the NCAA’s active leader in games played.
“I didn’t know it was my 100th point until Trish [DiPaolo] told me after the game. I didn’t even know I was close. My main focus is this team. Every accomplishment, goal, shutout, and victory is a team one and I’m so happy to be here with this family. I’m so grateful to have them on my side on and off the field. I can’t thank them enough for taking me in the way they have and believing in me,” said Tagliaferri.
Minnesota evened the score in the 30th minute as McKenna Buisman delivered a beautiful strike into the top left corner of the goal.
The contest remained tied into the second half until Sam Kroeger delivered a perfect cross into the box and Allison Lynch headed it home for the game winning goal.
The defense was able to preserve the lead to secure an important road victory. Goalkeeper Meagan McClelland registered a season high five saves, including two late in the game.
It was a gutty win for the Scarlet Knights, as the Golden Gophers held a 12-10 edge in shots but RU held a 7-6 edge in shots on goal. Head coach Mike O’Neill’s team has now held 38 straight opponents to single digit shot attempts on goal dating back to the 2019 season. Minnesota also held a 7-5 advantage in corner kicks.
Tagliaferri leads the team with 8 goals and 21 points while Ali moved into 8th place all-time in program history with the 18th assist of her career, passing Rutgers legend Carli Lloyd.
“With today being our first Big Ten game on the road, I thought we did a good job digging deep for a great team win. We worked hard to get up a goal early in the first half, now we need to focus on keeping that momentum for our next game,” said Ali.
“This is a huge win tonight because every Big Ten win is a big one. There is no easy win in this conference and if we want to be a champion we have to play and fight like one every single game, and ultimately every single day. I am so proud of this team tonight and the grit and heart we showed together,” said Tagliaferri.
“It was such a great team win that took all 28 of us! We always emphasize that great teams win on the road and we all came together and held strong. We’re definitely looking to carry this energy into our next match and get another road win,” said Lynch.
Rutgers will remain on the road and take on Ohio State (7-4-1; 2-1-1) on Sunday, October 3 at 12 p.m. ET airing live on the Big Ten Network. The Buckeyes are 2-3-0 against ranked foes this season and defeated No. 12 Penn State last weekend. It’s another crucial road contest for Rutgers as they look to maintain atop the Big Ten standings.