No. 25 WSOC Upsets No. 9 Penn State
Oct. 18, 2015
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Sophomore forward Colby Ciarrocca (Montgomery, N.J.) delivered on No. 25 Rutgers women's soccer's biggest stage this season, scoring the game-winning goal in the 52nd minute of a 1-0 shutout against No. 9 Penn State Sunday at Yurcak Field.
After honoring its graduating class on Senior Day, the Scarlet Knights (12-2-2, 5-2-2 Big Ten) defeated the Nittany Lions (11-3-2, 6-2-1 Big Ten) for the fourth consecutive meeting between the two sides.
"We talk so much about how we want to be a program that competes for a championship every year and Penn State is the bar," said head coach Mike O'Neill. "It's a good measuring stick for the ladies because they put so much time and effort into what they do. I thought we put a good game plan together, I thought they worked very hard, played good soccer, finished the chance that we needed to finish. I'm just really proud of the effort."
Senior midfielder Hayley Katkowski (Westford, Mass.) sent a ball back into the box in the 52nd minute that ricocheted off the foot of junior forward Madison Tiernan (Voorhees, N.J.). Ciarrocca weaved around a defender to receive Tiernan's pass, taking the ball just near the left goal box before finishing with her left foot.
The game-winning goal was Ciarrocca's third of the season, which ties for the team lead.
The defense was exceptional for Rutgers against the most lethal attack faced this season. Penn State entered the match averaging 17.3 shots and 2.2 goals per contest, but managed just nine shots against the Scarlet Knights' back line.
RU posted its 13th shutout of the season, now just three shy of the program record of 16 set in 2006. Sophomore goalkeeper Casey Murphy (Bridgewater, N.J.) made three saves in the match, and is now one clean sheet away from tying Erin Guthrie (2006-09) for the most shutouts in a single season.
With 23 shutouts in her career, Murphy is now tied for third all-time with Susan Curtis (1993-96).
Prior to the match, Rutgers honored its 11 seniors for their contributions "On the Banks": Cassidy Benintente (Jackson, N.J.), Rachel Cole (Teaneck, N.J), Cassie Inacio (Manalapan, N.J.), Alana Jimenez (Ocean, N.J.), Katkowski, Maggie Morash (Bernardsville, N.J.), Gabby Moreno (Severna, Md.), Brianne Reed (Tinton Falls, N.J.), Erica Skroski (Galloway, N.J.), Erica Sousa (Franklin Square, N.Y.), and Samantha Valliant (Markham, Ontario, Canada).
"They lead by example - on the field, off the field, the way they treat each other, the way they treat their teammates," O'Neill said of the senior class. "They're always the first ones to do something, and Rutgers University is a better place because they came here."
Rutgers, now 8-0-1 at Yurcak Field, wraps up the home regular season on Friday against No. 11 Minnesota (11-3-3, 6-2-1 Big Ten). The match will be streamed live on BTN Plus.
- Rutgers extended its current unbeaten streak to six matches (4-0-2) with the win.
- RU has won its last four matches against Penn State and is 5-7-1 all-time against the Nittany Lions.
- The top-10 win over PSU is the second in as many years for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights topped then-No. 6 Penn State, 1-0, on the road last season.
- Rutgers is 28-2-1 in its last 31 contests at home. The Scarlet Knights are 8-0-1 "On the Banks" this season.
- When using at least eight reserves in matches this season, Rutgers is unbeaten (12-0-1).
- Ciarrocca increased her Rutgers lead with five goals and 14 points this season. She has scored in consecutive contests.
- The game-winner was Ciarrocca's third of the year.
- Tiernan's assist was her second of the season.
- Katkowski started her 80th consecutive game for Rutgers since her career began in 2012. She is now tied for fourth on Rutgers all-time list for starts in a career.
- Murphy has 13 shutouts this season, setting a new personal record. The 13 shutouts for the Scarlet Knights are three shy of the single-season shutout record of 16.
- Skroski played the full time for the 15th time this season. Reed and Katkowski logged the full time for the 10th time.
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