Second seed brings home contest to Piscataway
All of the lingering questions hanging over the Rutgers women's soccer team heading into last weekend were resolved when Kelsey Dumont netted an overtime game-winner Friday night against Cincinnati.
Earlier that night, Georgetown lost to DePaul, meaning the No. 9 Scarlet Knights' 1-0 win over the Bearcats secured a second place overall finish in the Big East, giving them home field advantage in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament.
As tough as their 1-1 tie to Louisville was Sunday, the Knights relished in that fact as they made the long trip yesterday back to RU.
"The win Friday night was a great feeling," said RU head coach Glenn Crooks. "It gave us home field and that's just huge. It's symbolic because [the Cincinnati game] was another one goal game that we came out on top of and that's symbolic of what this team is all about this year. The tie against Louisville was tough, but home field advantage is what should be prominent in everyone's mind right now."
Louisville lost seven of its previous nine matches before hosting RU (13-2-4, 7-1-3), and the Cardinals came into the game as the seventh place team in the Big East National Division.
But that is something you would never be able to tell from watching its match with the Knights.
Louisville outshot RU 15-7 in the match, and they forced senior goalkeeper Erin Guthrie to save eight shots.
The one shot on goal that Guthrie could not save came in the 14th minute when Louisville's Emily Cardell sent a shot from 12-yards out sailing into the back of the net.
The Knights responded three minutes later when redshirt freshman forward April Price took control of a pass from fellow redshirt freshman Stefanee Pace and beat Louisville keeper Katie Zoeller for her third goal of the season.
That's where the offense stopped for both teams — especially RU.
The Knights took four of their seven shots in the first half and did not take one shot in the final overtime period, where they were outshot 3-0.
"I look at it one way — we were down 1-0, we came back to tie it, we got a point and we didn't lose a game on a weekend Big East road trip," Crooks said. "Again, that's huge, regardless of the opponent."
The Knights' performance Sunday was in stark contrast to the one they turned in Friday night when they outshot Cincinnati 18-11.
Through 90 minutes of firing shots at Bearcat keeper Andrea Kaminski RU could not find the back of the net.
But it only took 49 seconds of extra time for Dumont to net her second goal of the year and first game-winner of the season.
"For us to accomplish the things that we did this weekend was significant," Crooks said. "We secured home field advantage, we got four points, we secured second place overall in the Big East and now we have a nice week to rest. I think it all worked out very well."