Top seeded Rutgers women’s soccer advanced to the Big Ten championship game with a 2-0 win over defending champion and No. 5 seed Iowa (12-6-2; 5-4-1) on Thursday. The Scarlet Knights, ranked No. 4 nationally in this week’s coaches poll, have won 13 consecutive games to improve to 17-2-0 this season.
It was a fairly even first half that saw both teams register just two shots apiece in the opening frame. Rutgers was unable to generate consistent pressure on the Hawkeyes and the game was scoreless at the half.
Head coach Mike O’Neill made a strategic decision to sit First Team All-Big Ten performers Frankie Tagliaferri, Amirah Ali and Riley Tiernan the last several minutes of the first half. In an effort to get them some additional rest ahead of the second half, the move paid off.
Affter goalkeeper Meagan McClelland made two saves at the start of the second half, the offense got on track.
Tiernan set up the first goal in the 66th minute as she drove into the box and found Allison Lowrey on the other side of the pitch, who delivered a shot to the far post from just outside the 18 yard line to give RU the lead.
#RUWS LEADS!!! Riley Tiernan sets it up and Allison Lowrey with an absolute rocket to give the Scarlet Knights a 1-0 lead in the second half! pic.twitter.com/gN8RY3VaVQ— RUWS | BIG TEN CHAMPIONS (@RUWSoccer) November 4, 2021
Amirah Ali put the game away for good with a tremendous individual effort on a beautiful goal in the 78th minute.
AMIRAH. ALI. @RUWSoccer goes up 2-0 with this beauty of a goal. pic.twitter.com/WEP6x2sER4— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) November 4, 2021
The goal moved Ali into third place all-time in program history with 100 points for her career.
The Scarlet Knights delivered its fifth straight shutout and eleventh overall this season. They held Iowa to just six shots in the game and McClelland finished with three saves.
No. 1 seed Rutgers will face No. 3 seed Michigan on Sunday, November 8 in the Big Ten title game. Kickoff for the Final is set for 2 p.m. ET and will air live on Big Ten Network. The Wolverines defeated No. 2 seed Purdue 4-1 on Thursday.
No. 4 ranked Rutgers and No. 13 Michigan met at Yurcak earlier this season and RU won 4-1 as well in their best performance in Big Ten play.
We will have full coverage as the Scarlet Knights make their third ever appearance in the Big Ten Tournament championship game. RU will look to win its first ever on its home crowd at Yurcak Field.
Moving on! @BigTenNetwork caught up with Amirah Ali after the #RUWS Big Ten Semifinal 2-0 win over Iowa! pic.twitter.com/Es7xNpCYnn— RUWS | BIG TEN CHAMPIONS (@RUWSoccer) November 4, 2021