Rutgers defeats Indiana in overtime with LaPlant goal
Sophomore forward Brittany LaPlant did it again as her late game heroics helped lift the Rutgers women’s soccer team over Indiana 1-0 on Saturday night in Bloomington.
After netting the game winner against then-No. 12 Ohio State last weekend, LaPlant did so again six minutes into overtime against the Hoosiers (6-8-4, 2-5-3) this time with her head. Junior defender and captain Kenie Wright had the assist.
“We always stress the importance of box organization and making front post and back post runs," LaPlant said. “I did my best to make a hard run to back post. Kenie played a beautiful ball and I was able to get my head on it and put it away.”
With the win, the No. 25 Scarlet Knights (11-2-4, 5-2-3) have secured a playoff spot in the Big Ten Tournament and currently sit in fifth place in the standings with 18 points behind Northwestern, Minnesota, Penn State and Ohio State.
The 1-0 shutout was Rutgers’ third straight and the team’s 13th this season headed by junior goalkeeper and captain Casey Murphy, who now has 42 career shutouts — second in school history. Murphy had three saves in the net as the Knights’ defense hardly allowed any shots on goal.
After another match going into overtime, Rutgers improved to 3-0-4 in overtime games with seven of its last 11 games heading to extra time.
Much like most of the season, the Knights came out a little slow in the first half, only taking four shots but holding the Hoosiers to just two of their own. In the second half, Rutgers broke out with seven shots in the first 15 minutes compared to Indiana’s one.
Overall, the Knights outshot the Hoosiers, 15-12 and 7-3 on shots on goal. But after 90 minutes it still wasn’t enough — until LaPlant came through yet again.
“(Scoring the game winner) is something you never get used to,” LaPlant said.
LaPlant hopes the magic doesn’t wear off anytime soon as Rutgers is headed home to play its final regular season match against Michigan (6-5-6, 3-4-3) on Wednesday at Yurcak Field. It will be the team’s final tune-up before the playoffs.
Still, the Knights have much to play for if they don’t want Wednesday’s match to be their final home game. In fifth place, Rutgers would have to hit the road to take on the No. 4 seed, who is currently Northwestern — a team the Knights tied 0-0 in double overtime earlier this year in Evanston. The Wolverines have something to play for as well, as they are fighting for their postseason lives, currently sitting in ninth place in the conference.
Nonetheless, Rutgers is excited to be back in the playoffs and eager to make a deep run.
“Having the opportunity to play for something so much greater than yourself and getting that result is just amazing,” LaPlant said.
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