The No. 25 Rutgers women’s soccer team opened the 2021 season with an impressive 6-0 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday night. Nine different players were involved in the scoring while Meagan McClelland and Emma Huntzinger combined for the shutout in goal. RU outshot FDU 26-2 on the night in dominating the game, including 14-1 with shots on goal.
The Scarlet Knights got on the scoreboard in just the 4th minute of the season as Penn State transfer Frankie Tagliaferri found Amirah Ali, who was able to deliver in the box. The two All-Americans made it clear from the outset that together they will pose a major challenge for opponents this season.
They were both named to the 2021 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List this week, which is given annually to the top player in the nation. It’s clear that they will be one of the best duo’s in college soccer this season.
Ali then returned the favor to Tagliaferri, who made a great individual play to make it 2-0 in the 11th minute.
The first goal for Frankie Tagliaferri as a Scarlet Knight...and it's a beauty! Frankie gives us a 2-0 lead over FDU! pic.twitter.com/LQj95Jjd13— Rutgers Women's Soccer (@RUWSoccer) August 19, 2021
Later in the first half, two sophomores who had great debuts last spring delivered the third goal when Sara Brocious found Sam Kroeger in the 18th minute.
Right before the half, Rutgers went up 4-0 on a bit of great teamwork in the box. Sophomore Allison Lowrey found freshman Kylie Daigle, who then split the goalie and a defender, allowing sophomore Emily Sapienza to tap it in on the goal line.
In the second half, the Scarlet Knights continued to pressure FDU and made it 5-0 on a breakaway goal from Brocious in the 49th minute on a beautiful through ball from All-Big Ten performer and captain Gabby Provenzano.
Soon after, the best scoring opportunity of the game for FDU was thwarted by McClelland with this diving save.
The scoring was capped by freshman Riley Tiernan in her highly anticipated debut in scarlet on a booming kick from point blank range. Tagliaferri added her second assist of the game.
Twenty-four players played at least 15 minutes in the game, which was important as head coach Mike O’Neill develops and meshes this team on the field with a roster loaded with talent.
Rutgers will now host Temple on Sunday night as part of a six game homestand to open the 2021 campaign. The Owls lost their season opener 3-0 at Maryland on Thursday night.