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Overtime match leads to second draw of year for Rutgers

<p>Sophomore forward Colby Ciarrocca had Rutgers’ best chance of the match, but her header went just wide of the Purdue goal.</p>

Sophomore forward Colby Ciarrocca had Rutgers’ best chance of the match, but her header went just wide of the Purdue goal.

The No. 23 Rutgers women’s soccer team traveled to West Lafayette, Indiana, to take on Purdue for a brief one-game road trip and played to a 0-0 draw.

The Scarlet Knights (10-2-2, 3-2-2) went to overtime for the third time this season, and finished with a draw for the second time in overtime contests.

The win over Indiana and the draw against Purdue gives Rutgers four points over their last two conference matchups.

Just like in their victory over Indiana last Thursday, the Knights controlled the tempo of the game and outshot their opponent by a wide margin.

They outshot the Boilermakers (7-5-1, 2-3-1) by a mark of 22-7, making it consecutive games with at least 20 shots for the Knights.

This is a welcoming sign for their offense, but they were unable to capitalize their chances into goals like they did against Indiana.

“I was so proud of the effort the team gave today,” said head coach Mike O’Neill. “We played great soccer and did a lot of great things that I was happy about. Not scoring a goal is disappointing because the girls deserved more.”

The Knights had practiced throughout the week trying to establish a more aggressive identity on offense, which showed once again in this contest.

Junior forward Madison Tiernan led the Knights with five shots for the second consecutive game, and she managed some of the closest shots that were saved by Purdue goalkeeper Jordan Ginther.

Ginther finished with five saves in the game, while sophomore goalkeeper Casey Murphy recorded three saves for Rutgers.

It was the 11th shutout of the season for Murphy, which gives her a career-high and the 21st of her career.

The Knights appeared as if they would break through in the 76th minute when senior defender Brianne Reed sent a pass into the box that found sophomore forward Colby Ciarrocca.

Ciarrocca headed the ball just wide of the net, which kept the game scoreless and left the Knights frustrated to not convert on their chances. She finished with three shots in the match.

Rutgers then controlled the ball for both overtime periods, recording eight shots in the extra time while not allowing a Purdue shot.

In total, the Knights finished with six shots on goal, compared to four for the Boilermakers.

They also had many set pieces by recording 11 corner kicks, which have normally been a prime source of scoring for Rutgers.

But to finish out strong in the Big Ten schedule, they understand they will have to continue creating opportunities while being more efficient in finishing their shots.

Senior midfielder Hayley Katkowski made some history by notching her 78th start in a row, which moves her into 10th place on Rutgers’ all-time list. She passed former Rutgers player and 2015 World Cup star Carli Lloyd on the program's all-time list for consecutive starts.

She played all 110 minutes of the match, giving the Knights a calming influence and stability in the center of the pitch.

The Knights now look forward to their final three game homestand of the season, starting when they host Ohio State on Thursday at Yurcak Field.

They will look to keep up their offensive and defensive intensity during training this week, while working on scoring more quickly and efficiently.

“We are still creating a lot of chances but still have to find a way to get the ball into the back of the net,” O’Neill said. “I’m happy with the brand of soccer we are playing with but we just need to finish more often.”

For updates on the Rutgers women’s soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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