Rutgers defense pitches 3rd straight shutout

With a laser-focused vision, the Rutgers women’s soccer team is on a mission. The Scarlet Knights (4-0) claimed their fourth consecutive win of the season at home in a 1-0 shutout against Providence.

Both teams remained scoreless going into the second half, but once the 61st minute rolled around, Rutgers saw its chance to pounce. 

“After we came out of the locker room, I think we played our game much more,” said sophomore goalkeeper Meagan McClelland. “We realized we got 45 minutes. We could take off tomorrow and we’ve got to give it our all. We got to keep locked down on defense because if they don’t want it, they don’t score.”

Freshman back Allison Lynch launched the ball from midfield into the box, where the Friars (2-2) goalkeeper deflected it. But, the ball slipped from her grasp, allowing freshman midfielder Julia Aronov to secure the goal in fresh fashion.

Being where she needed to be at the right time, Aronov felt a rush of emotions to come away with her first career goal wearing scarlet.

“I kind of didn’t believe it at first,” Aronov said. “But when I saw the one on the scoreboard, I was like, ‘did that really just happen?’”

Even though the Knights shot 16-10 against Providence, both teams had three shots a piece on target, with one of those being Rutgers’ winning ticket.

From the net, McClelland made a late, but crucial save in the 84th minute to keep the Friars at bay. The shutout marks McClelland’s third of the season and 11th in her career on the Banks.

Aside from McClelland’s 90-minute game play, senior backs Chantelle Swaby, Amanda Visco and Tiernny Wiltshire were right there with her to hold up the defensive end for the entire game.

With the Knights’ upset over No. 11 Tennessee last Thursday and their most recent victory over Providence, Rutgers is looking in good shape to jump up the NCAA leaderboard before reaching Big Ten play in the next three weeks.

The Knights have a pool of talent, with five different players registering at least 1 goal across the classes. The upperclassmen have an edge with junior forwards Nneka Moneme and Amirah Ali at 3 goals each this season, but Rutgers is still able to make its move no matter what position its players are in.

“We’re a great team,” McClelland said. “We’re so close. We have a lot of energy on and off the field, and we have a lot of depth. Even when we’re making subs, giving some of the stars a rest, the game changers come on and the level doesn’t drop.”

The Knights will lace up again this Thursday at Yurcak Field for a 7 p.m. game against Hofstra.

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