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Rutgers women’s soccer earns No. 6 seed in B1G Tournament after 2-1 win over Northwestern

The Scarlet Knights have now won four of its last five games.



Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers women’s soccer (9-6-3, 5-4-1) had a memorable senior day in coming through with a clutch 2-1 victory over Northwestern (9-5-4, 3-5-1) to conclude the regular season. The Scarlet Knights earned a No. 6 seed in the Big Ten Tournament following the season finale at Yurcak Field. This team is hitting its stride at the right time after winning four of its final five matches of the regular season.

It was an especially emotional win for RU as head coach coach Mike O’Neill missed the game due to the passing of his older sister. The team dedicated the victory to the O’Neill family. Associate head coach Lubos Ancin ably replaced him as Rutgers kept its season alive in qualifying for the Big Ten Tournament for a tenth straight season. Only 8 out of 14 teams advance to the conference postseason.

Sara Brocious gave Rutgers a lead in the 33rd minute with a perfectly placed flick shot over the Northwestern goal keeper. The goal was assisted by Ashley Baran, who headed a cross to Brocious from Allison Lowrey, who also was credited with an assist.


The visiting Wildcats tied the game in the 57th minute with an impressive strike from Josie Aulicino that grazed the bottom of the crossbar before going in.

On Senior Day, it was freshman Ashley Baran who scored the winning goal in the 77th minute. Seniors Sara Brocious and Sam Kroeger both played perfectly placed balls up the middle as Baran outran the defense and scored. The Northwestern goalie was unable to stop her hard driving shot.


Rutgers goalkeeper Olivia Bodmer made three key saves in the victory. Northwestern outshot RU 9-8, held a 4-3 edge in shots on goal as well as an 8-4 advantage in corner kicks. Even so, the Scarlet Knights defense held strong.

“We are so proud of the team,” said associate head coach Lubos Ancin. “We know what we had to do. Every person on this team, from the bench to the field, brought the energy and did the job. The mindset from the start was to take care of our business, regardless of the score.”

It was a memorable day for Sara Brocious, who scored the 12th goal and had the 19th assist of her career. Lowrey and Kroeger each picked up their 15th assist of their respective careers. Baran scored her second goal of her rookie season while earning her first assist.

Rutgers will travel as the No. 6 seed to face No. 3 seed Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals on Sunday, October 29. The kickoff time in Madison has yet to be announced. The two teams did not face each other in the regular season. The Scarlet Knights will need to win to extend its season and keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Credit this team for not giving up on the season and playing its best stretch of soccer over the last few weeks. Hopefully, they can keep it going on Sunday and beyond.

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  1. Henry Rutgers

    October 23, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    It was a very exhausting and emotional day. Exhausting because of the early return flight from Indianapolis and emotional because we arrived at Yurcak in time to watch the senior’s honored in the pregame with their families. I had no idea we were losing so many seniors although had I just looked at the roster it was there to see. Between graduate and seniors, we have a lot of talent to replace. I don’t know why but I thought Kroger and Romano each had another year. I know I wish they did. I knew Fluchel and Lynch were seniors but just wouldn’t acknowledge it because like the other two I never want them to leave. I would have liked to see Misal get some time on the field. However, she and Girman were unavailable due to injuries. We can only hope they are well enough to make the trip and be available to play against Wisconsin. The thing about Misal is she hates to lose as much as any athlete I’ve seen. To her it is deeply personal. Our younger players coming up can learn a lot from her.

    It somehow seemed like every weekend game this fall has had some weather-related phenomenon. This one was high winds that changed the flight path of the ball and limited the play to one side of the field each half. We had some lapses on defense and some missed opportunities on offense but managed to prevail in this important contest. Continuing the winning streak through the Big Ten Tournament is about the only path available to the NCAAs for a team that finished in the middle of the BigTen pack. We’re received a good bracket and draw. Now it’s up to the coaches to put the best players on the field and for the women to fight for themselves, Rutgers and the State of NJ.

  2. pj43

    October 23, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    It appears that, overall, the ladies are playing their best soccer going into the tournament. Perhaps senior leadership will set the right tone and lead the team to an NCAA bid with a great run beginning with WI. Good luck, ladies!

  3. Henry Rutgers

    October 29, 2023 at 7:15 am

    Today is the day. We’ll see how badly the women want the season to continue when they play @ Wisconsin in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

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