Rutgers women’s soccer sees historic season end in loss to Florida State

Rutgers women’s soccer falls to Florida State just a game short of the NCAA Championship Game.

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Rutgers women’s soccer fell to Florida State 1-0 on Friday night in the semifinals of the Women’s Soccer College Cup. The loss sees the Scarlet Knights season end one match short of the championship game.

It was a tremendous season for the Rutgers women’s program, who won the Big Ten regular season title and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The season showed continued growth from the program under head coach Mike O’Neil, who struggled to find the words at times following Friday night’s loss.

“It’s hard, it’s hard to find the words. I’m really proud, it was a great year. They were brilliant tonight, created chances, executed a gameplan and worked hard as a team. We talk about being 28 strong. We were 28 strong this season. Left nothing on the field; disappointed in the result but it’s been a historic year. We’re proud, very proud,” O’Neil said after the game.

“It hurts a bit with the seniors that have helped take this program to another level, both in the classroom and on the field.”

The women’s soccer program is undoubtedly the standard-bearer for success in the athletic department.

A second half goal by Florida State’s All-American Jaelin Howell was the difference in the match. It was at times a nervy match but a very even and tight, with Rutgers and Florida State each registering nine shots.

“I think starting out and going into this season when we started Day 1, we know there was something special,” captain Gaby Provenzano said.

“We knew that it was truly a family and that we were truly sisters and that no matter what, we were going to have each other’s backs through the ups and the downs. And that’s what carried us through this year.”

Rutgers women’s soccer places two semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy

Two Rutgers women’s soccer players are semifinalists for the Hermann Trophy.

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Rutgers women’s soccer placed two players as semifinalists for the 2021 MAC Hermann Trophy. The announcement was made on Tuesday by the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC).

Senior midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri and defender Gabby Provenzano were among the 15 semifinalists for the national award. It was the first time in program history that two Scarlet Knights were named semifinalists.

The Hermann Trophy is given annually to the nation’s top player.

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A transfer from Penn State, Tagliaferri has helped revolutionize the Rutgers attack this year with 13 goals and nine assists in 24 appearances. A captain, Provenzano has been tremendous defensively but also has been instrumental in her possession play, ability to play the ball out of the back and her strong movement forward.

Both players have been pivotal in what has been a historic season for the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers was one of two programs to have multiple players named semifinalists. The other program is Florida State, who has midfielder Jaelin Howell and defender Emily Madril up for the award. Howell won the award last year.

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On Friday in Santa Clara, CA, Rutgers plays Florida State for a berth in the championship game. Rutgers has had a tremendous season, going 19-3-2, winning the Big Ten regular season title and earning one of four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

Senior defender Alia Martin (Michigan) was the only other Big Ten player named a semifinalist.

Rutgers men’s soccer coming off a season of success and growth

Rutgers men’s soccer took a big step forward with a very solid 2021 season.

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In now his third season as head coach of Rutgers men’s soccer, Jim McElderry has seen steady growth for his program. This year, Rutgers finished a very solid 9-6-2 in what must unequivocally be called a step forward for the program.

It was a campaign that built on the spring season where the Scarlet Knights went 4-4-1.

“Definitely, [I] think we’ve grown in a lot of ways in terms of the depth of our team,” McElderry told ‘Rutgers Wire’ last week.

“We grew in the overall expectation of our group for what is needed to be a successful Big Ten team. We also had some moments when players were injured or sick, we had the guys to come in and play the way we wanted to play.

“Sometimes we needed a little more quality here in moments but overall, I’m happy with where the group is headed. You’re never satisfied though.”

The Rutgers men’s soccer program has a long history of success that includes appearances in the Final Four and a number of top players including Alexi Lalas, Hamisi Amani-Dove, Jon Conway, Joshua Gros and Dilly Duka among others. McElderry talked about the natural recruiting turf that Rutgers is centrally located in as being a real positive for his program, as are new facilities that include two new practice fields.

Looking back on the season, McElderry liked that his team played a lot of close games. For a young squad, this is important for building their mentality.

“We need to have those high expectations,” McElderry said. “I also felt really good about the mentality of our group.”

What did Greg Schiano say about Bryan Felter after Saturday’s game?

Bryan Felter returned to the starting offensive line unit in Saturday’s loss to Maryland.

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Bryan Felter got the start for Rutgers on Saturday n a home loss to Maryland, marking the former Bergen Catholic star’s return to the starting group.

Felter made eight appearances last year and 10 this year, but he lost the starting job he held for much of last year as a true freshman. Saturday against Maryland, Felter got the start with shuffling done along the offensive line.

Senior Nick Krimin got the start at center, shifting over from guard for the injured Gus Zilinskas.

Head coach Greg Schiano was asked about Felter getting the nod to start in the regular season finale. He provided an answer about the former Bergen Catholic three-star and the offensive line as a whole, a unit that has struggled this year.

“He has improved. He has shown some spark and some — it’s all relative, right? I said at the beginning of the year, we’ll go as far as the O-line can take us. I think it’s been a work in progress all season, and certainly by having another combination,” Schiano told reporters after the game.

“Gus [Zilinskas] got banged up this week in practice, so we didn’t really have him full go until this morning, and as a young player who doesn’t have a lot of logged experience, we’re not going to play him on one day’s practice, so he was there for depth, but we weren’t going to do that, so now we had a decision to make. Nick going back to center. What are we going to do at guard?

“Look, we make the decisions, as I do all the time. What gives us the best chance to win today? That’s every decision I make is based on that.”

Coming out of Bergen Catholic, Felter had offers from Boston College, Cincinnati and West Virginia among others.

Former Rutgers standout goalkeeper Casey Murphy makes stunning debut for United States

Former Rutgers standout Casey Murphy makes United States women’s national team debut.

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Casey Murphy made her national team debut last week, the former Rutgers standout goalkeeper putting together a solid shift in a 3-0 win on the road over Australia.

It was Murphy’s first appearance for the United States, who are the defending World Cup champions and won bronze in the most recent Olympics.

Murphy made eight saves in Friday’s win, an impressive international debut given that it was at one of the best national team programs in the world.

“Well, to be honest, I tried to play it cool but inside I was so excited,” Murphy told reporters after the game.

“Obviously, I’ve been training for a very long time for this chance and this opportunity. And I just want to make the most of it for the team and for our country. So, yeah, I was obviously so excited to get the chance to start tonight.”

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At Rutgers, Murphy took a redshirt as a senior to play in the U20 World Cup. The standout goalkeeper, who turned 25-years old this April, has played professionally in Europe and is now with the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL.

The short-turnaround for the national team is a challenge as the players were only together for a few days before playing against Australia. With a lot of new players coming in, the focus was about getting everyone on the same page quickly against an Australian national team that is one of the best in the world.

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“The focus for the team was obviously a lot on us. In the few days we had to train together, what we needed to do to be successful. And so we did try out a few different styles and building out and, you know, if it didn’t work, we skip it and move on to something else. And obviously, it was a lot of trial and error. But you know, once we found something that was working then we would keep with it,” Murphy said.

“That’s the biggest thing, especially when you’re playing such a good opponent like this, we know it’s going to be tough. We know it’s going to be a battle. First thing we can control is our work rate. And so that was definitely there tonight. And then obviously, the tactical piece of it was tremendous in helping us put together a good game plan in a short amount of time so we could find success in the game today.”

Watch: Aaron Young stretches a run for a touchdown

Rutgers Avery Young runs a long three yards for a touchdown.

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Rutgers offense found life in the second half, scoring touchdown drives on each of their drives after halftime. Aaron Young’s third quarter touchdown run gave Rutgers some short-lived hope for a comeback.

Down 26-9 midway through the third quarter, the Scarlet Knights quickly moved down the field, going 34 yards on five plays to get down to the goal line.

With the ball on the 3-yard line, out of the shotgun, quarterback Evan Simon took a high snap and handed it off to Young. The sophomore running back stretched things right, outpacing two Maryland defenders to run a very long three yards for his fourth touchdown of the season.

It was the closest Rutgers would get in the game as Maryland just began to physically wear down the home team.

 

Rutgers came into the game needing a win to get bowl eligibility. The Scarlet Knights haven’t made a bowl game since 2014.

Watch: Rutgers set for the final four, heading to the NCAA College Cup

Rutgers women’s soccer won an epic game over Arkansas on Friday night.

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Rutgers women’s soccer is through to the final four of the NCAA Tournament, outlasting Arkansas on Friday night on penalty kicks.

It has been a banner season for the women’s program, who won the Big Ten regular season title and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Scarlet Knights have now won consecutive penalty kick shootouts to advance to the final four teams in the tournament.

Last Sunday, Rutgers outlasted TCU in eight rounds of a shootout in the Sweet 16, winning 5-4 to advance to Friday’s Elite Eight match with Arkansas.

First half goals by freshman Riley Tiernan and senior forward Amirah Ali were the bookend to two Arkansas goals in the first half.

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Rutgers booked a ticket to the NCAA College Cup for the first time since 2014. They will play Florida State for the right to advance to the championship game.

The Scarlet Knights are now 19-3-2 on the season and 13-2-2 at home.

It’s Final (Four)! Rutgers women’s soccer on to the NCAA College Cup

Rutgers women’s soccer books a ticket to the Final Four with a win on penalty kicks over Arkansas.

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Rutgers women’s soccer is in to the final four, outlasting Arkansas on penalty kicks on Friday night. The Scarlet Knights are on to the College Cup, a 2-2 match settled 4-2 on penalty kicks.

It is another big accomplishment in a season filled with them for a program that won the Big Ten regular season and earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament. It was a second-straight penalty kick win for Rutgers as they outlasted TCU last Sunday on penalty kicks to book their ticket to the Elite Eight match-up.

The women’s program makes a return to the Final Four for the first time since 2015.

 

A Riley Tiernan goal just two minutes into the match sent the home crowd at Yurcak Field into a frenzy but it was answered by two Arkansas tallies in the next 13 minutes as the visitors took a 2-1 lead. Senior Amirah Ali leveled right before halftime, the 2-2 scoreline holding through regulation and two overtime periods.

Rutgers will face Florida State on Friday, December in Santa Clara, CA with a berth to the championship game on the line.

Rutgers men’s soccer benefitting from location and MLS academy ties

Rutgers men’s soccer is building its roster with a very strong MLS academy flair.

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Jim McElderry’s Thanksgiving plans includes the usual dose of food and family. But for the Rutgers men’s soccer coach, there with a healthy mix of soccer as well. McElderry plans on hitting up academy and club games over the holiday weekend as he turns his focus from on the field to recruiting.

Rutgers finished the season 9-6-2 and with a 3-4-1 record in the Big Ten. It was a successful season for Rutgers and continued the development of the program under McElderry, now in his third year with the program.

One major reason for the growth of the program is a budding relationship with the local MLS academies. His roster includes several players who were developed through the academy system of the New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union.

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“I don’t think we worry too much about their style and our style and it’s a little bit different. But what they both do – and we can include NYCFC as well – they attract good players, serious players, players who know how to balance their time well,” McElderry told ‘Rutgers Wire’ this week in a phone interview.

“You’re getting someone who is dedicated.”

The MLS academy system is unique in professional sports, taking players as young as middle school and developing them with an eye towards playing professional soccer at the MLS level. Some players will opt for the college system and McElderry has certainly done a good job of targeting those players who want an education before potentially signing with a  professional team.

Jackson Temple, named this season to the All-Big Ten Second Team, came up through the Union academy. Joey Zalinsky and Matthew Acosta, both named to the conference’s freshman team, are Red Bulls academy products. Nico Rosamilia, a surprise omission from the Big Ten freshman list, also played for the Red Bulls.

Rutgers is ideally situated between three MLS academies, allowing the program to benefit from three professional clubs that have a tremendous track record of scouting and developing players.

McElderry said that “Our location is really important and also the new facilities we have here.” He also highlighted the new Rodkin Center as well as the team’s recently developed soccer practice fields as key components in recruiting these academy players.

The Union and Red Bulls have among the best academy systems in MLS, producing multiple professional players including several currently part of the United States national team. NYCFC, although having arrived just a few years ago, is already producing quality players including Gio Reyna and Joe Scally, both starters for good teams in the German Bundesliga.

The quality of the facilities, a major upgrade for Rutgers in recent years, is a selling point for players used to training and playing at an MLS club’s practice center.

“They want to play. When they come and visit, they realize it is the next step for them,” McElderry said. “If they don’t get that pro contract then we become a good place for them to get that education and play at a high level.”

 

Greg Schiano wants a big crowd for Rutgers women’s soccer on Friday night

Rutgers women’s soccer gets a nice shoutout from head coach Greg Schiano.

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Throughout the season, Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano has consistently asked for fans to turn out for his team’s games at SHI Stadium to create a home field advantage for his program.

On Monday during his weekly press conference, Schiano spoke about the Rutgers women’s soccer team, who advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Sunday’s win over TCU on penalty kicks was a classic match between two talented sides. The win booked the team’s ticket to the final eight of the tournament for the first time since 2015.

“I want to congratulate Mike O’Neill and the women’s soccer team. On to the Elite Eight which is really awesome. Want to wish the entire as well as coach and his staff good luck versus Arkansas,” Schiano told reporters on Monday afternoon.

“Friday night, big game. Let’s go pack it; it’s at our place. Let’s pack Yurcak Field and see what women’s soccer has in hand for us.”

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In Sunday’s match Rutgers went up in the 18th minute via a tremendous goal from senior forward Amirah Ali, who had a fantastic match not only for her goal but also for her relentless work rate and hold-up play. TCU equalized with five minutes left in the match and after two 10-minute periods of golden goal overtime, the Sweet 16 fixture went into penalty kicks.

 

Senior goalkeeper Megan McClelland saved three penalty kicks and sophomore Allison Lowery converted the game winner on Rutgers seventh attempt from the spot to book their trip to the Elite Eight.

Friday night’s match against Arkansas at Yurcak Field is scheduled for a 7PM kick-off.