Casey Murphy of Bridgewater, who has ties to her grandparents in Lebanon Twp and her Aunt of Clinton Twp, put the Rutgers Lady Knights on her shoulders against number one ranked Virginia literally saving the game in overtime penalty kicks.
Rutgers kept nine people on the defensive side of the pitch for the majority of the game, choosing to rely upon their All Star goalie rather than risking playing a full field game against Virginia, who came into the game as the most lethal scoring team in women’s NCAA soccer.
The strategy worked as Murphy was brilliant all game long and got the Lady Knights through two tense overtime periods.
Then came the shoot out period. The first two Rutgers girl shooters were obviously having a serious case of the nerves and hit wobbly shots on goal that were easily saved by the VA keeper. Things were looking bleak. Then Murphy took over on the offensive side.
In an unusual move the keeper took the third penalty shot and without flinching Murphy blasted the ball into the upper left corner and changed the entire momentum of the sudden death section. She saved the next ball and then things got really tense with both teams going back and forth for four rounds. Rutgers tenth shooter put one in the back of the net and the pressure was back on VA. Their shooter tried to put it into the left side low but Murphy guessed right, swallowed the ball into her body, and the party was on.
This is the farthest Rutgers woman’s soccer has every advanced and on Friday at 5 p.m. on ESPNU they will play Penn State, who only a few weeks ago beat Rutgers 2 – 0 for the Big Ten Title. Revenge is in the AIR – GO RU.
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