Rutgers, Big Ten, Big Ten Tournament, women's soccer
(Photo by Christopher Shannon - JSN)

Rutgers Women's Soccer Advances to Big Ten Championship Final

The Rutgers womens' soccer team shutout Iowa 2-0 in the Big Ten Tournament semi-finals on Thursday and advanced to the Big Ten Championship game for the third time in program history. 

The Scarlet Knights had recently clinched their first Big Ten Conference Championship since the program's inaugural season in 1984.

On a beautiful day in Piscataway, New Jersey all eyes were on a Rutgers team trying to advance to the Big Ten Championship game for the first time since 2016.

Match Highlights

In the first half, Rutgers was held off the scoreboard by the Hawkeyes defense, despite possessing more of the ball. However, the Scarlet Knights came into today's game with a 16-2 overall record for a reason and that is their depth. Led by three All Big Ten First Team players which includes midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri, forward Amirah Ali and defender Gabby Provenzano

While Rutgers had a strong home crowd going for them and the confidence that comes with being undefeated in conference play, the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes women were prepared to play. Notably, the Big Ten midwestern stalwarts earned two scoring chances, but the Scarlet Knights goalkeeper, Meagan McClelland denied the visitors on both which kept the game scoreless.

The lady Scarlet Knights would strike first and it came in the 66th minute, when sophomore from Bridgewater, New Jersey, Allison Lowrey booted in a right-footed shot that beat Hawkeye goalkeeper, Macey Enneking to the bottom left corner of the net. Lowrey's sixth goal of the season was assisted by first team All Big Ten freshman Riley Tiernan.

Rutgers was clinging to a slim lead in the 77th minute, which prompted Big ten coach of the year, Mike O'Neill to make three substitutions which included replacing Lowrey with Amirah Ali, who came into tonight's game with the second-most goals on the team.

Substituting on Ali paid off in the 81st minute, when the senior from Voorhees, New Jersey delivered a knockout punch to the Hawkeyes with this powerful strike.

The Scarlet Knights cruised to a program record 13th straight victory. Rutgers will hold on to it's number-four ranking in NCAA Division 1 Women's Soccer. 

During the postgame interview, senior Amirah Ali described what it means for her and her teammates who are also from New Jersey to represent their home state of New Jersey on the national level.

It means the world to us to be able to be on this field in our state, growing up here, being Jersey girls, we're putting everything on the line for this team. We want to bring the trophy here, bring it home and we're very excited - Amirah Ali

The Big Ten Championship game will take place on Sunday. Rutgers will face the winner of today's second semi final between Purdue and Michigan, who are ranked second and third in the Big Ten, respectively. 

Penn State was the last Big Ten women's soccer team to go undefeated against their conference in 2005. 16 years later, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have a chance to accomplish this same feat and if they do it, it would cement their legacy as the greatest women's soccer team in Rutgers history.

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Anthony Paradiso
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