PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The curtain closed on the UConn women’s soccer team’s season on Sunday when the Huskies dropped a 4-0 decision to the No. 2 seed, Rutgers, at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Sunday’s match marked the first time UConn had made an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen since 2007.
Junior Rachel Hill (Rollinsford, N.H.) got right down to business in the eighth minute after she beat the Rutgers defender, went one-on-one with the keeper and put up a nice shot on goal that was saved by Rutgers keeper Casey Murphy.
The Scarlet Knights answered with their own close scoring opportunity just a minute later. Rutgers’ Madison Tiernan got a shot off just inside the box on the right side, but junior goalkeeper Emily Armstrong (Collegeville, Pa.) made the save on the ground by the right post. The ball popped out and Rutgers had an open net, but junior Toriana Patterson (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) got behind the ball and cleared it out for Huskies.
Rutgers took a commanding 2-0 lead with back-to-back header goals halfway through the first half. The Scarlet Knights went up 1-0 in the 29th minute when Tiernan got a head on the ball off a corner and squeaked it under the crossbar. Katelyn Walters extended the lead exactly three minutes later with another header off a cross from Jennifer Andresen to secure a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
Rutgers outshot UConn 8-7 in the first half, but shots on goal were even at three apiece.
Cassie Inacio tacked on another goal for Rutgers five minutes into the second half when she shot it from way outside the box and the ball hit off the post and deflected into the back of the net, making it 3-0 right out of halftime.
Senior Gabriella Cuevas (Wayne, N.J.) created an opportunity for the Huskies to get on the board in the 58th minute when she nailed a perfect header towards the net, but it missed just over the cross bar. Senior Andrea Plucenik (Brooklyn, Conn.) followed up with a similar play in the 67th minute when she teed one up over the crossbar.
Colby Ciarrocca gave Rutgers its fourth and final tally when she ran the length of the field with one minute left on the clock, dribbled around Armstrong, who came out of net to challenge Ciarrocca, and tapped it into the empty net to secure a 4-0 lead with 55 seconds on the clock.
UConn and Rutgers were virtually even in shots. UConn recorded 17 shots compared to Rutgers 16, but the Scarlet Knights had one more on goal than the Huskies, 8-7. Armstrong finished with three saves for the Huskies, bringing her season total to 77 saves for a 18-4 record in net. Murphy racked up seven saves for the Scarlet Knights for her 18th shutout of the season.
Rutgers will advance to the Elite Eight and UConn will finish its season 19-4-0 making its 30th NCAA tournament appearance and marking its furthest run since 2007.
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