The No. 8 Rutgers women’s soccer team won its seventh straight game on Sunday and improved to 6-0 in Big Ten play with a 1-0 win over Iowa (8-5-1; 2-4-0) at rain soaked Yurcak Field. The Scarlet Knights are now 11-2 overall and sit atop the Big Ten standings with 18 points.
Rutgers dominated the action by holding a 27-6 shot advantage in the game, including a 12-3 edge in shots on goal. RU held a 19-1 shot advantage in the second half alone. However, they were unable to finish on scoring chances until late in the game.
It was scoreless all the way into the 75th minute until Iowa was called for a handball in the box. A penalty kick was awarded to RU and sophomore Becci Fluchel delivered the game winning goal for her second PK of the season after doing the same in the victory over Penn State last month.
“When I go to the spot, all I think about is getting the ball in the back of the net. Honestly, we deserved it so much. We had so many chances, it was a real battle out there with the weather and everything. In the end, it is what we need to do to win the game,” said Fluchel.
Rutgers continued to attack with four shots soon after, but could not add to their lead. Fortunately, goalkeeper Meagan McClelland made a key save in the 88th minute to deliver her sixth shutout of the season. She finished with three saves in the game. It was also the 41st game in a row that the Scarlet Knights held an opponent to single digit shots on goal.
RU also held a 10-3 advantage with corner kicks. Despite not being able to score off of any of them, the constant pressure on the Hawkeyes defense helped create the penalty kick opportunity late in the game.
“We just have to stick together as a team and stay focused on our goals to go into every game and win every game one to one at a time. We have one focus and that’s to get a shutout and get goals. The way we scored today was a penalty kick, but that penalty kick came from so many other things and it’s just how we pulled it out today,” said Fluchel.
The Scarlet Knights (11-2-0; 6-0-0) are in prime position to win the Big Ten regular season title but its not a given. RU will finish with three of their last four games on the road. This next week is crucial as they begin the last stretch of the season this Thursday, October 14 at Maryland (4-6-4; 0-4-2) before hosting a pivotal match against Michigan State (9-1-3; 4-1-1) on Senior Day on Sunday, October 17. Rutgers will then finish out at Indiana (9-2-3; 3-1-2) on Thursday, October 21 and at Illinois (5-7-1; 1-4-1) on Sunday, October 24. All four remaining games will air on Big Ten Plus.
“This win means so much. We’re just trying to keep the ball rolling. Every team in the Big Ten is really strong, really competitive. It’s a competitive conference so getting these wins does mean a lot, even if it’s just by one goal. We’re going to a keep pushing and hopefully this leads to a good seed for the tournament and keeping it rolling from there,” said senior captain Amirah Ali.