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Rutgers women’s soccer earns No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament

It’s the tenth consecutive trip to nationals for the program.

Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers women’s soccer earned a No. 1 seed in what is the program’s tenth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid on Monday. The good news is that they will stay home to play at Yurcak Field for the first four rounds prior to the College Cup Final Four, if they advance that far. The Scarlet Knights were No. 3 in the latest RPI rankings ahead of the bracket reveal.

This is the 16th NCAA Tournament appearance for Rutgers and 12th in the last 14 years. Head coach Mike O’Neill has led RU to the dance in each of his eight seasons.

Rutgers will host Bucknell on Saturday, November 13 at 4:00 p.m.. The winner of that game will play the winner of Ole Miss and St. Louis in the second round the following weekend. A potential rematch against Princeton, who they lost to 4-3 this season, is possible in the Sweet 16.

Bucknell is 11-7-3 this season and won the Patriot League Tournament to earn the automatic bid. Ironically, Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano’s daughter Katie is on the Bison team.

The Scarlet Knights enter the NCAA Tournament with a 17-3-0 record after becoming the Big Ten’s first undefeated regular season champion since 2005. It was the first Big Ten championship in both program and school history. RU lost on Sunday in the Big Ten Tournament championship game, falling to No. 13 Michigan 1-0. It was the program’s third ever finals appearance and first since 2016.

Rutgers is ninth nationally with a 2.75 goals per game average and they’re 23rd nationally with a 0.650 goals against average. They are led by two super seniors on offense, Frankie Tagliaferri and Amirah Ali.

Tagliaferri was named the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and 12 goals and 31 points this season, along with being second with 7 assists. Ali, who was a First Team All-Big Ten selection for the fourth straight season, is second on the team with 9 goals and 23 points while being tied for third with 5 assists.

Freshman Riley Tiernan leads RU with 11 assists and is third on the team with 19 points. Sophomore Allison Lowrey is third on the team with 6 goals and fourth with 16 points.

Overall, Rutgers has 13 different players who have scored at least one goal this season, including seven players who have scored at least 4 goals apiece. The Scarlet Knights also have 17 players who have registered an assist and 18 players who have produced at least one point this season.

The defense is led by First Team All-Big Ten selection Gabby Provenzano. The super senior and co-captain along with Ali left Sunday’s title game with an apparent knee injury. Her status for the NCAA Tournament is unknown.

Goalkeeper Meagan McClelland was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection this season and she is 23rd nationally with a 0.673 goals against average and has seven shutouts overall.

Rutgers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last spring, losing in a shootout to Clemson. The last time the program advanced past the second round was to the 2015 College Cup Final Four. This team will aim to do so again starting this weekend.