Rutgers suffers tough loss in double-overtime to No. 22 Michigan
In probably the most heartbreaking defeat the Rutgers women’s soccer team has faced all season, the No. 19 Scarlet Knights (7-2-2, 2-1-1) fell to Michigan 3-2 in double overtime Thursday evening.
The Wolverines extended their winning streak to six in a row while simultaneously ending Rutgers’ five game shutout streak.
In freshman forward Brittany LaPlant’s first start of her career, the Knights continued to be a high-powered offense.
Thursday’s match started in a defensive manner with an abrupt playing flow sans any quality chances or continuous possession.
The ball was skipping all over the pitch causing lots of misplayed passes, one of which led to the first goal of the evening.
Ten minutes in, Michigan got on the scoreboard because of their aggressive offensive pressure that forced the Knights’ defense to make a critical error.
A Rutgers clearance was deflected because of the wet grass and landed right in front of senior forward Nicky Waldeck, who easily knocked in a score to the back of the net.
The Knights responded in the 26th minute when senior captain Madison Tiernan scored her fifth goal of the year.
The forward fired a rocket off a half volley into the top right corner, easily hitting it past Jackson.
The 1-1 scoreline would hold through halftime and it appeared Rutgers would come out a more motivated team in the second half.
That proved true as two minutes into the second period, freshman midfielder Nicole Whitley launched a shot on goal, but Jackson saved it.
This was followed by another fire from senior midfielder Tori Prager, but once again, Jackson handled it cleanly.
Then five minutes later, in the 56th minute, junior forward Colby Ciarrocca sent a cross into the box for LaPlant, but she missed the back post by mere inches.
In the 60th on the other side of the field, senior goalkeeper Alana Jimenez made a diving save to keep the game tied, although that wouldn’t last for too much longer.
Just 13 minutes later, freshman defender Amanda Visco nailed a goal into the top left corner of the net to give the Knights a 2-1 advantage.
The lead would only last six minutes, though, as Waldeck hammered home her second score of the night to make the match 2-2.
That draw held up through the end of regulation and the two Big Ten foes entered overtime all square.
The first overtime period was dominated by Rutgers as the squad poured in shot after shot but they were all either off the mark or stopped by Jackson.
One of those shots was Tiernan’s 12th of the match, which was her career high and also brought the Knights to 25 total shots on the night.
Despite the shot quantity, Rutgers could not find the score sheet for the remainder of the match as no bounce went the right way.
“We’re creating a lot of opportunities, but we need to put a few more away,” said head coach Mike O’Neill. “We need to have more confidence and awareness in front of the net.”
Michigan, on the other hand, only had 10 shots all game, but Waldeck was still able to head in her third of the match and the game winning goal in the second overtime.
In a night where the Knights demonstrated their superiority, it was extremely tough for the team to not pick up even a single point.
Rutgers will play Michigan State next on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“The players know the importance of getting three points in East Lansing,” O’Neill said. “We need to keep level headed and make finishing a focus.”
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