Rutgers wins 3rd Big Ten game against Northwestern

From back-to-back losses to back-to-back wins, the Rutgers women’s soccer team captured a 3-2 double overtime victory against Penn State and a 2-0 shutout victory to Northwestern over the weekend.

The Scarlet Knights (9-2-1, 3-2-0) struggled to maintain possession of the ball and couldn’t close out opportunities at the start of the conference season, but have made up ground in accomplishing those tasks.

In a long-history between Rutgers and the Nittany Lions (7-6-1, 2-3-0), the Knights clinched a grueling win on the road on Thursday night and scored their most goals against Penn State since joining the Big Ten. 

Rutgers was even with the Lions until Penn State scored halfway through the first half. Looking to tie up the game, senior forward Brittany LaPlant snuck by two Lions in the 62nd minute to score her second goal of the season.

Taking over the lead with just 5 minutes left of the game, senior forward Jenna Sayers subbed in and put the ball in the net 3 minutes later. Junior forward Amirah Ali posted a long pass to LaPlant, followed by another pass to put Sayers in a running position to the ball. 

Sayers used her momentum to tip the ball past Penn State’s goalie at the top of the box for Sayers’ first goal of the season. Sayers couldn’t keep the smile off her face as she dropped to her knees in complete shock.

But, the Knights celebrated too soon as the Lions tied the game 2-2 off a corner kick 2 minutes later and sent the match to their first overtime period that left Rutgers without a shot to its name.

In the game’s second overtime period, the Knights were given a penalty kick since Penn State fouled from a hand on senior Amanda Visco. Ali took the kick, putting the ball in the top of the net for the game-winning goal.

Rutgers rode high off of the win over the Lions to secure the match against the Wildcats (4-6-2, 2-2-1) on Sunday afternoon at Yurcak Field.

Adding another goal to the list, an assist from Ali put junior forward Nneka Moneme in position for a goal 17 minutes into the match and her sixth of the season.

With an assist from senior midfielder Taylor Aylmer, LaPlant seamlessly moved past two Northwestern players to launch the ball in the top right corner of the net. LaPlant’s back-to-back goals shows the Queensbury, New York, native’s impressive footwork around multiple defenders.

Over the match, the Knights registered 17 shots with eight of them on goal, compared to the Wildcats’ 10 shots and three on goal.

This also marks sophomore goalkeeper Meagan McClelland’s sixth shutout of the season on three saves. 

Rutgers will head back on the road this week to Iowa City for a matchup against Iowa. The Hawkeyes (12-2, 4-2) shutout Michigan State 3-0 on the road, on Sunday.

Iowa has not allowed a goal since last Sept. 29 against Northwestern. The Hawkeyes lost that game in overtime. 

Before playing the Spartans, Iowa defeated Nebraska 1-0 in Iowa City. Devin Burns leads all scorers with 6 goals on the season.

The Knights look to have finally found their groove in Big Ten play and will look to push the bar even higher as the season moves forward. More of the upperclassmen are taking charge of the game and working together better than as individuals. 

That leadership will hopefully translate down the totem pole for the younger players to follow and make statements of their own.

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

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