Rutgers opened Big Ten play on a hot, steamy Sunday afternoon at Yurcak Field. On a day where the program celebrated the inaugural 1984 season, former players on alumni day, and the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the 2022 squad notched their 9th win of the season to remain perfect and set the program record for best start in history.
Unlike the prior two matches, the Knights came out with energy and purpose. In the 6th minute, Allison Lowrey took a beautiful pass from Sara Brocious in stride and put the ball past Buckeyes keeper Katherine Robinson for an early 1-0 lead.
Ohio State would get a shot on goal a little over a minute later but Megan McClelland made the stop and that would be it for the Buckeye’s scoring chances in the first half. Like the Knights’s prior two opponents, LaSalle and LSU, Ohio State tried to pressure the ball early and often but Rutgers was able to clear and control the pace of play. Rutgers played extremely aggressive on offense and were flagged for eight offsides in the match but it was refreshing to see the Knights in attack mode after the prior two matches in which they were on their heels often at the start of games.
When the Knights move well without the ball in space, they are a difficult team to handle. Riley Tiernan and Sam Kroeger, in particular, looked like they had an extra gear as they continually out-hustled OSU defenders for the ball. While Rutgers was not able to pad their lead, they prevented Ohio State from getting anything going offensively for the remainder of the half and the teams headed to their respective locker rooms with the Knights up 1-nil.
Rutgers would pad their lead in the 54th minute of play. Kylie Daigle sent a beautiful pass forward to Sara Brocious, who collected the ball in stride and tapped it softly past Buckeye’s keeper Molly Pritchard for a 2-nil lead.
Ohio State would get one more shot on goal that McClelland saved easily and Rutgers would take the match, 2-nil. The Knights outshot the Buckeyes 20-12 and 5-2 on goal. Rutgers opens Big Ten play with an important victory and sits at 1-0-0 with Penn State looming.
“It’s a great feeling. We set these goals at the beginning of the year. We were proud of going undefeated out of conference, but we always say conference play is a new slate. We came out knowing what we did last year, knowing how much more we can do, and we have so much faith in ourselves. We are proud, but excited to see what else we can do.”
Sara Brocious (courtesy Rutgers Athletics)
️ Sara Brocious breaks down the goals and the historic 9-0-0 start with the B1G+ crew. pic.twitter.com/8rb3IwE6Wf— RUTGERS WOMEN’S SOCCER (@RUWSoccer) September 18, 2022
Notable (courtesy Rutgers Athletics)
- The Rutgers defense has held all nine opponents to five shots on goal or less, and record less than three shots on goal allowed for the sixth time in nine matches.
- Meagan McClelland recorded her 39th career shutout, extending her NCAA active career lead.
- Kylie Daigle has recorded a point in seven consecutive matches dating back to Aug. 25 at Providence.
- Rutgers improves to 10-0-2 against Ohio State all-time
Happy Valley to face No. 8 Penn State, who are potentially the most dangerous opponent Rutgers will face in the Big Ten this season. The game airs live on the Big Ten Network Thursday, Sept. 22 ,at 6pm.