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Rutgers women's soccer looks back on historic season

Senior back Gabby Provenzano, senior goalkeeper Meagan McClelland and the Rutgers women's soccer team conclude a 2021 season that included a regular season Big Ten championship and a national semifinal appearance.  – Photo by Olivia Thiel

The Rutgers women’s soccer team completed their season in historic fashion with the most wins in program history and a trip to the College Cup.

Starting the regular season with six straight wins, the No. 5 Scarlet Knights (19-4-2, 10-0-0) were an unstoppable force until they met New Jersey rivals Princeton. The Tigers (15-3-1, 6-1-0) and Georgetown were minor roadblocks for the rest of their memorable season.

This season, head coach Mike O’Neill achieved his 100th win at the helm of Rutgers. O’Neill later received Big Ten Coach of the Year along with the entire women’s soccer coaching staff being named the 2021 North Region Staff of the Year.

“We’re very proud of them — very proud of them,” O’Neill said. “It’s been a really good season, a historic season, and we don’t want them to forget that. It’s so important that they don’t forget that.”

The Knights went on to record their longest win streak in program history. Within that period, they also won the first Big Ten title in program history since their induction in 2014. Their 10-0 conference record was also the first time conference play has seen a perfect record since 2005.

“Playing for my home state it feels great to bring home the trophy to New Jersey, especially the first Big Ten win in Rutgers history. It feels really good,” said sophomore forward Allison Lowrey.

In the final match of the Big Ten Tournament, Rutgers suffered its third loss of the season against Michigan.

With the College Cup now behind the Knights, they aim to look forward and set new goals for the 2022 season. With senior players such as forward Amirah Ali, back Gabby Provenzano, midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri and goalkeeper Meagan McClelland leaving after this season, the underclassmen will have to step up without them.

This past season has shown what young and older talent can do for a program. Freshman midfielder Kylie Daigle and Big Ten Freshman of the Year, forward Riley Tiernan, worked hard this season to help the program progress into an even stronger winning team.

“You think about the atmosphere that’s been created for development and thinking about their progression and the impact that they’ve had. It’s pretty special to watch,” O’Neill said.

As the 2021 season for the Rutgers women’s soccer team concludes, their legacy will live on in the record books and program history.

“One thing we like to stress is 'Forever Rutgers, Forever Family,' so no matter where we are even after our season, no matter what we go on to in our lives, we're always knowing that Rutgers is in our heart,” Ali said.

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

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