Rutgers plays Indiana to 2-2 draw in Bloomington
The Rutgers women’s soccer team played Indiana to a 2-2 draw Sunday afternoon at Yeagley Field at Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington.
Senior captains Madison Tiernan and Tori Prager scored early to put the Scarlet Knights (9-2-3) ahead 2-0, but the Hoosiers (5-7-3) battled back.
Rutgers moves to 4-1-2 in Big Ten action and dropped to 24th in the most recent National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s (NSCAA) poll.
After an unbelievable showing against Purdue Thursday night, senior goalkeeper Alana Jimenez made four saves in net for the Knights.
Indiana’s keeper, on the other hand, blocked eight and was tested heavily.
Rutgers, which entered the weekend leading the Big Ten in shots on goal, launched at least eight shots on goal in 11 of 14 matches.
The match was a microcosm of the Knights’ entire season in a lot of ways, as they dominated possession and created many chances, but were not able to finish at a high clip.
“We haven’t finished the way we want to,” said head coach Mike O’Neill. “We talked about shot efficiency and it’s something we’re working on.”
Rutgers did not face those issues early on as it pounced on the Hoosiers in Bloomington from the starting whistle.
The captain duo scored three minutes apart, as the Knights took a 2-0 advantage 13 minutes into the match.
Indiana continued to fight for the rest of the afternoon, not phased by the rapid-fire goals.
The Hoosiers answered the two quick Rutgers goals with two scores of its own before the end of the half.
Senior defender Marissa Borschke scored her first goal of the year on a penalty kick in the 32nd minute to make it 2-1, and that was followed by a rebound goal from freshman forward Sydney Kilgore in the 41st.
The penalty kick caused a big momentum shift in the match as it strengthened Indiana’s comeback hopes.
Kilgore’s goal was set up perfectly as she was in the right place at the right time.
The ball caromed straight toward her and she responded with a solidly placed deposit into the back of the net.
Entering halftime shocked to be even, the Knights remained optimistic about pulling out a victory.
That would not occur, though, as Rutgers was shut out in the second half.
The lack of goals was not due to lack of effort or opportunities though, as the Knights were constantly knocking at the door.
The Knights' best chance at stealing the game came in the 75th minute, when they earned a penalty of their own.
After freshman midfielder Nicole Whitley’s penalty attempt was saved against Purdue, O’Neill called upon senior forward Jennifer Andresen this time around.
Her shot was blocked as well and the opportunity to take control of the lead slipped out of Rutgers’ hands.
The two overtime periods did not produce an instance as threatening as the penalty and the Knights ended the match tied.
After Sunday’s draw, Rutgers slips back to 2-0-1 all-time against Indiana.
The Knights played in their sixth overtime match this season and fourth in the last five games. Rutgers owns a disappointing 1-2-3 record in overtime in 2016 and that is something O’Neill, the coaching staff and the players are focusing on improving. The last time the team played six overtime matches was in 2013, where a dearth of late game heroics was also apparent and Knights went 1-0-5.
One player who certainly has the ability to change that pattern is Tiernan.
With 19 points this season and 57 in her career, Tiernan is now ninth on Rutgers’ all-time scoring list. She has totaled 21 goals and 15 assists in her career with four games remaining in her final season of eligibility. Her seven goals and five assists this year give the Voorhees, New Jersey, native a new single-season high.
Meanwhile, Prager scored for just the second time in her career as she plays more of a defensive role for the Knights.
Junior forward Colby Ciarrocca posted her third assist of the season propelling her to third on the team with 13 points. Tiernan and Ciarrocca have been leading the offense recently as it has recorded points in four-straight games.
Rutgers’ next two matches will be nationally televised on the Big Ten Network, where it will look to rebound from a comeback loss by Indiana.
The Knights will face No. 13 Penn State on Thursday, Oct. 13 in University Park, Pennsylvania, and travel to Ohio State on Sunday, Oct. 16.
“On the road, especially, we need to really focus on our mission of winning a Big Ten title,” O’Neill said. “At the same time we can’t think ahead, we’ve got to take it one game at a time.”
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