Less than one week after winning the program’s first ever Big Ten title and finishing the conference regular season undefeated, the Rutgers women’s soccer team was recognized in a major way on Thursday.
Mike O’Neill was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the first time after leading the Scarlet Knights to a 15-2-0 overall record and a perfect 10-0-0 record in conference play. He has led Rutgers to seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and four consecutive top three finishes in Big Ten play.
Senior Frankie Tagliaferri was named Big Ten Midfielder of the Year after leading Rutgers with 12 goals and 31 points this season. She was also second on the team with 7 assists. The All-American transfer from Penn State has been instrumental in leading an offense that averages 3.06 goals per game, the sixth most in the country. She is the first Scarlet Knight to ever win this award.
Gabby Provenzano was named Big Ten Defender of the Year. She led a defense that allowed just 12 goals in 17 games this season. RU tied for second in the Big Ten with nine shutouts. Provenzano has been instrumental on defense as the Scarlet Knights have held its last 45 opponents to single-digit shots on goal dating back to 2019. She joins Erica Skroski (2015) as the only Rutgers’ players to have won this award.
Riley Tiernan was named Freshman of the Year after leading Rutgers and the Big Ten with 10 assists. She is third on the team with 18 points after scoring 4 goals. Her ability to set teammates up for scoring chances in penetrating the sideline was a major key to the offensive success this season. She is the fourth Rutgers player to win this honor joining Nicole Whitley (2016), Amirah Ali (2017) and Meagan McClelland (2018).
Amirah Ali, the only three-time All-American in program history, was named First Team All-Big Ten for the fourth time in her career, joining Tagliaferri and Provenzano who made it for the second time, as well as Tiernan making it in her first season. Ali is second on the team with 8 goals and 21 points.
Sophomore midfielder Becci Fluchel was named Second Team All-Big Ten and senior goalie Meagan McClelland earned Third Team All-Big Ten honors.
Tiernan was joined by midfielder Kylie Daigle and defender Kassidy Banks on the All-Freshman Team.
Senior Shea Holland won the Sportsmanship award for Rutgers.
You can hear what this season has meant to O’Neill, Ali and Sam Kroeger, as well as their approach to the postseason on our Big Ten Champions podcast episode here:
The Big Ten Tournament begins on Sunday, October 31 with No. 1 seed Rutgers hosting No. 8 seed Wisconsin at Yurcak Field. Kickoff for the quarterfinal match is set for 3:30 p.m. ET live on B1G+. Admission is free.
Rutgers and Wisconsin did not meet this season, but the Badgers beat the Scarlet Knights twice last season, which took place this past Spring. RU will look to avenge those defeats and extend its program record 11 game winning streak. A win on Sunday will make them the host for the semifinals and championship game, giving them an opportunity to play for the Big Ten Tournament title on its home field the following weekend.