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No. 6 Rutgers women's soccer advances to Big Ten Tournament semifinals, defeats Wisconsin 1-0

Senior back Gabby Provenzano was named Defender of the Year by the Big Ten.  – Photo by Samantha Cheng

The Rutgers women’s soccer team defeated No. 8 seed Wisconsin 1-0 to open the 2021 Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. The No. 6 Scarlet Knights (16-2-0, 10-0-0) continue their historic winning streak, totaling 12 straight victories. Their record-breaking season continues to the semifinals this Thursday against No. 5 seed Iowa.

Late in the first half, sophomore midfielder Sara Brocious scored the match’s lone goal. Jordyn Bloomer made the initial stop for the Badgers (8-5-6, 3-3-4) but Brocious scored off the rebound to give Rutgers the lead by halftime.

The last 45 minutes saw nothing but saves from both keepers. Senior goalkeeper Meagan McClelland bagged her 10th clean sheet of the season and a season-high seven saves. Bloomer also had a season-high 10 saves this match, 6 of which came in the first half.

“No service, no shots, no goals is extremely important to the team," said junior back Allison Lynch before the match. "Rutgers has historically prided itself on our lights-out defense, and it is something we want to continue.”

The Knights last game capped off their regular season with the first perfect conference record in the Big Ten since 2005. Defeating Illinois 3-0 and their work throughout the season helped earn Rutgers the top seed in the tournament.

The Knights earned many accolades this Thursday as the Big Ten announced postseason awards. Head coach Mike O’Neill won Big Ten Coach of the Year for his leadership in bringing home the first Big Ten title in Rutgers history. With more than 100 career victories coaching the Knights, O’Neill hopes to send Rutgers through the bracket unscathed.

Three members of the program earned Big Ten of the Year honors in their respective positions. The conference named senior midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri Midfielder of the Year, and senior back Gabby Provenzano earned Defender of the Year. In addition, freshman forward Riley Tiernan was honored as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

The Knights cap off an undefeated season with the most players receiving Big Ten Player of the Year awards in program history. Senior back Shea Holland was awarded the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, and Rutgers had multiple players named All-Big Ten first, second and third-team members.

The Knights' semifinal tournament match will be played on Thursday at Yurcak Field against the Hawkeyes (12-5-2, 5-4-1).  The game will be streamed on Big Ten Network+ and broadcast to radio listeners on 88.7 WRSU. Live stats will be provided at kickoff.

“Although we rewrote the record book, we are always hungry for more, and we won’t be finished until we have won it all,” Tiernan said.

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

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