No. 20 Rutgers looks to end skid in Penn State

Down back-to-back Big Ten matches, the Rutgers women’s soccer team is eager for a win this weekend. The No. 20 Scarlet Knights (7-2-1, 1-2-0) will head to Penn State on Thursday for a road game at 7 p.m., before returning to the Banks to compete against Northwestern on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Last weekend, Rutgers fell 2-1 to Maryland at home for its second Big Ten loss on home turf this season. A loss to the Nittany Lions (6-5-1. 2-2-0) would send the Knights in their first three consecutive Big Ten losses since 2015, where they eventually came around in the back half of the season to compete in the NCAA Final Four. 

Although Rutgers has not had a great start to its conference season, after an undefeated non-conference season, there is still hope for the Knights to finish off well in the Big Ten and possible post-season games to follow.

Scouting Penn State 

The Lions split their last two games with a 1-0 win to Minnesota, before losing 1-0 in their road match against then-No. 19 Wisconsin. Penn State's Ally Schlegel leads the offense with 8 goals and ranks second in the Big Ten for season goals, just ahead of junior forward Amirah Ali. 

The Lions' goalkeeping is spread throughout three players with Amanda Dennis and Katherine Asman spending the most time in front of the net.

Last season, Rutgers lost 1-0 to Penn State on the road. The Lions ended up falling to second in the Big Ten Tournament against Minnesota in a 5-4 shootout and 0-0 three-overtime draw. History has the Knights and the Lions in a tie across the board with three wins, losses and ties. The last 3 of 4 matchups have led to double overtime draws in what will look to be a grueling game between two of the best Big Ten teams.

Scouting the Wildcats (4-5-1, 2-1-0)

Northwestern is riding off of two consecutive conference wins against Nebraska (1-0) and Iowa (2-1). Goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood has protected the net all season with 76 saves on a save percentage of .854. 

The active defensive end is saving the Wildcats from their weak offensive line that sits at the bottom of the Big Ten with 71 shots, compared to Rutgers’ 147 shots this season. 

The Knights came away with a 1-0 win in their previous matchup against Northwestern. 

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

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