Andrea Cannon | 9/24/17
Nneka Moneme’s overtime goal helped the Rutgers women’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Illinois on Sunday September 24, 2017 in Champaign. Going into this game, the Scarlet Knights had not been scored against, but the Illini had something to say about that.
After a scoreless first half, both teams came out eager to put the ball into the back of the net. Rutgers senior forward Colby Ciarrocca executed a beautiful give and go with a teammate on the righthand side of the field. Ciarrocca then used her time and space to beat the Illinois defense and put the ball past sophomore goalkeeper, Jaelyn Cunningham.
Nine minutes later with Rutgers still up 1-0, Illinois junior midfielder Katie Murray tapped the ball into the bottom left corner of the net on a set corner kick play to tie up the game.
Murray credits her goal to her teammates explaining how their height in the box allowed them to win the first ball making it easier for her to anticipate the second ball.
With the temperature reaching the upper 80’s, the officials implemented a water break in the middle of each half to ensure the athletes stayed hydrated. However, there was “water break” that was not planned. With 5:45 left to go in the second half, the clock was stopped due to 2 sprinklers coming on in the middle of the field. This posed some problems for the remainder of the game.
“I kind of got caught in it, but it didn’t dictate the outcome”, said Murray.
After 90 minutes of regulation, the score was still tied 1-1. The teams were ready to play two 10 minute overtimes until a victor was determined.
During the first overtime, Rutgers freshman forward Amirah Ali found other freshman forward Nneka Moneme in stride on her way to goal. This connection of passes lead to the second Rutgers goal and a road victory.
Some disappointing events throughout the game contributed to the Illinois loss. During the second half, the Illini scored a second goal, but it was retracted by the referee because there was a foul called prior to the ball going into the net.
Even though Rutgers may have won, there was no smile coming from redshirt junior goalkeeper Casey Murphy. With the Illini goal, she had lost her 9 game shutout streak.
“I need to learn from my mistakes and will take advice from my goalie coach” Murphy said when asked how she will prevent this type of goal again.
With this win, the Scarlet Knights move to 8-0-2 overall and to 2-0-1 in the Big Ten Conference. The Illini are yet to win a conference match and are 3-9 overall this season.
The next match for the Illini will be against Purdue at Folk Field on Thursday September 28, 2017 in West Lafayette, Indiana at 5pm. The Scarlet Knights head back to Yurcak Field in New Brunswick, New Jersey to take on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota on Friday September 29, 2017 at 7pm.