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No. 24 Rutgers women’s soccer draws with Michigan to end regular season

Senior forward Amirah Ali and the Rutgers women's soccer team were held to a 1-1 draw against Michigan in their regular season finale.  – Photo by Scarletknights.com

The No. 24 Rutgers women’s soccer team ended up tying for the second time in three games, drawing 1-1 against Michigan to conclude the regular season.

The Scarlet Knights (6-2-3, 6-2-3) and Wolverines (5-3-3, 5-3-3), who both were coming off scoreless affairs in their previous matchups, looked to end the regular season with another win in the standings before the Big Ten Tournament.

Rutgers, who was scoreless for more than 200 minutes of gameplay before this matchup, looked to get things going early against a Michigan team who was shutout on March 28, 2-0 to Indiana.

The Knights began the shot contest fast with senior forward Amirah Ali creating a chance 0:45 into the matchup that would miss the goal, while the Wolverines responded with a chance of their own from Raleigh Loughman at 1:53, though junior goalkeeper Meagan McClelland turned it aside.

The first half would see 11 total shots, with each team getting three on net. McClelland and Michigan's Hillary Beall would make those saves in goal, though McClelland faced three chances altogether in period one to Beall's two.

Both teams also had eight combined fouls and two combined corner kicks, with the Wolverines receiving five fouls. Rutgers had three fouls called against it and 1 of the 2 corner opportunities during the first 45 minutes.

In half number two, the Knights and Michigan found themselves with the same amount of total shots again with 11, though Rutgers had six total, two more than the amount they had in the first half. Both goalies would face chances on goal, though McClelland was the first one to break for the Knights, eventually conceding the first goal of the game.

At 60:18, Nicki Hernandez broke through, delivering an unassisted strike that got past McClelland in order to give the Wolverines the 1-0 lead. That was Hernandez's sixth goal of the season and Michigan's first goal since its 2-0 win on March 25 against Illinois.

Rutgers with less than 2 minutes left created an opportunity from the left corner, as freshman midfielder/defender Becci Fluchel sent a corner kick toward the goal, a kick senior forward Nneka Moneme would head into the back of the cage at 88:12.

Moneme’s second goal of the season would end the Knights’ scoring drought of more than 300 minutes, a timeline dating back to freshman midfielder Julianne Leskauskas’ game-winning goal on March 21 at 47:02 against Minnesota.

Both teams would be tied 1-1 after 90 minutes, as Rutgers found itself in overtime for the second time in three games. The Wolverines would be entering their first overtime game since March 7, a contest that resulted in a 3-2 victory over Nebraska.

Extra time saw two periods, as defensive play became the narrative with several blocked chances taking place. The Knights recorded the only shot throughout the two periods, a shot that came off the foot of freshman midfielder Sam Kroeger that was denied by Beall.

Rutgers would draw with Michigan 1-1 to conclude its final road trip of the regular season, one that consisted of an 11-game in-conference schedule.

The Knights look toward the Big Ten Tournament, as they await their seeding. Wildcard weekend for the tournament is scheduled from April 8-11, while semifinals and finals matchups are listed to take place from April 15-18.


For updates on the Rutgers women's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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