Women’s Soccer Knocked Out Of Big Ten Tournament With Loss Against Rutgers
No. 21 Penn State (11-4-4, 7-1-3 Big Ten) opened its Big Ten Tournament play against the 7-seed Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-3-6, 4-2-5 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions came in as the number 2 seed in the tournament, but were unable to get the job done in the quarterfinals, falling to Rutgers 2-0 despite a succession of opportunities in the last embers of the match.
How It Happened
Early in the game, the Nittany Lions had every intention of getting Frannie Crouse and Megan Schafer involved. The two attackers found each other along the left wing throughout the early portions of the game, but Rutgers’ defense held strong against the strong Penn State attack.
Penn State couldn’t quite establish long periods of possession as the Scarlet Knights did an impressive job pressuring the player in possession and closing down the space before it could be exploited. The Lions’ midfielders also struggled throughout the first half to make on some passes that would normally be automatic.
Rutgers almost broke through about 25 minutes through the first half as Madison Tiernan sent a shot off of the crossbar, nearly giving Rutgers a 1-0 advantage.This near goal seemed to wake up the Big Ten Champions, as they immediately went down the field and nearly scored off of a corner themselves.
In the 28th minute, however, Erica Murphy was sent through the final line of the Penn State defense by Colby Ciarrocca. With only the goalie to beat, Murphy finished off the attack with a calmly-taken goal. Rutgers entered the half with their 1-0 lead in tact.
Penn State looked dangerous and hungry as the second half got under way. Megan Schafer threatened first for the Nittany Lions, firing a shot at Alana Jimenez from about 30 yards out that dipped and moved in the air, but Jimenez was able to deflect the ball away from goal. Just minutes later, Laura Freigang was played into the box, but her shot was always rising and did not threaten the Rutgers goal. In the 58th minute, some quick attacking play led to a opportunity for Marissa Sheva, who was wide open on the right wing. Sheva fired a shot on target with Rutgers defenders bearing down, but her shot was kept out by Jimenez once again.
A succession of corners led to opportunities for Frannie Crouse and Laura Freigang, but neither could quite even up the match.
With about 18 minutes left in the half, Madison Tiernan sent in what looked like a cross from about 30 yards out that slipped through the hands of Amanda Dennis. The ball fell into the goal to give Rutgers a 2-0 lead.
Just a few minutes later, Megan Schafer unleashed a shot that hit the underside of the crossbar, and bounced down but not quite across the goal line. The Nittany Lions created a number of opportunities late in the match, but it was too little, too late as Rutgers sat back defensively and saw the match out. Penn State outshot Rutgers 13-7, but simply were unable to find the back of the net.
Player of the Game
Madison Tiernan | Forward | Senior
Rutgers’ Madison Tiernan presented problems throughout the afternoon for Penn State, and her goal in the second half gave Rutgers a substantial advantage, forcing the Nittany Lions to throw everybody forward.
Penn State awaits its position in the NCAA tournament after the early exit from the Big Ten Tournament.