PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 29, 2014) – A 34th minute goal from sophomore forward Jessica Puchalski (South Brunswick, N.J.) was all the Rutgers women’s soccer team needed to push past in-state rival Seton Hall Friday night at Yurcak Field. With the 1-0 victory over the Pirates, the Scarlet Knights (3-0, 0-0) improved to 3-0 for the third consecutive season.
Seton Hall (1-2, 0-0) came out aggressive to begin the second half, registering the first three shots of the period after being held to just one in the opening stanza. However, the Scarlet Knights quickly bounced back to maintain possession for the majority of the time remaining.
RU outshot the Pirates, 13-5, doubling Seton Hall’s total in the second half and holding the opposition to one shot in the first period.
Puchalski created her scoring opportunity by breaking through the defense in the 34th minute, weaving through the backs to draw out the keeper as she attacked. Puchalski then broke through Seton Hall keeper Gina Maiorana, finishing her strike from three yards out on the open net for the game-winning goal, the first of her career.
The clean sheet was the second-straight for RU, as freshman Casey Murphy (Bridgewater, N.J.) also collected her second-career shutout.
At halftime, the program honored its former student-athletes at midfield in celebration of Alumni Night.
Rutgers returns to the pitch next Friday, Sept. 5 against another in-state rival, Princeton. The Scarlet Knights look to defeat the Tigers for the fourth consecutive meeting. RU topped Princeton, 5-1, last season at Yurcak Field, when senior forward Stef Scholz (South Hackensack, N.J.) scored a career-high four goals.
- With the victory, Rutgers improved to 3-0 for the third consecutive season.
- The Scarlet Knights now lead the all-time series against Seton Hall, 12-7-1.
- Head coach Mike O’Neill improved to 3-0 on the season and 6-0 for his head coaching career. With one more victory, he would cement the best start to a head coaching career in program history. Former coach Charlie Duccilli guided the Scarlet Knights to a 6-0-2 start through his first eight games at the helm in RU’s first season in 1984.
- Rutgers recorded its second consecutive shutout and has allowed just one goal through three matches this season. Dating back to last season, the Scarlet Knights have allowed one goal in their last six matches.
- Puchalski posted the first game-winning goal of her career in the win. The score was also her first of the season.
- The Scarlet Knights have recorded double-digit shots in 21 of their last 25 matches dating back to the 2013 season.
- Junior Hayley Katkowski (Westford, Mass.) started her 47th consecutive game in the midfield for Rutgers.
- Junior back Erica Skroski (Galloway, N.J.) played the full 90 minutes for the second consecutive match.
- Murphy collected the second shutout of her career in the win.
- Seton Hall’s five shots were the fewest for an RU opponent since Bryant also recorded five on Sept. 13, 2013 in a 4-0 Rutgers win.
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