The two remaining No. 1 seeds in the 2021 NCAA women’s soccer tournament, the Rutgers women’s soccer team and Florida State, will face off this Friday at 7 p.m. in Santa Clara, California for the semifinal match.
The Scarlet Knights (19-3-2, 10-0-0) have battled through five straight wins and two penalty shootouts to advance to their first semifinal match since 2015. Rutgers is following the footsteps of the 2015 squad and hoping to secure their first-ever College Cup victory.
"The 2015 team left an amazing foundation and one that every team I've been a part of here at Rutgers has wanted to chase and reach … They've set the bar so high, and that's what we say every year is to raise the standard and make it a new one. So that's our hopes going into (the game)," said senior back and captain Gabby Provenzano.
Provenzano aided this historic run for the Knights and has been awarded countless times for her clinical defending throughout the season.
She most recently earned the title of MAC Herman Trophy Semifinalist alongside senior midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri. The annual MAC Herman Trophy is the most coveted individual honor in NCAA Division I soccer. Both seniors earned titles in the All-Region First Team, among senior forward Amirah Ali and freshman forward Riley Tiernan.
Rutgers' savior between the sticks, senior goalkeeper Meagan McClelland, was named in the All-Region Third Team for her crucial performance in the Knights’ previous penalty shootouts and 13 shutouts this season.
Their opponents this Friday, the Seminoles (20-1-2, 12-0-1), have seen 11 College Cup appearances and two previous national championships. Coming off its 1-0 golden goal victory against Big Ten-affiliate Michigan, Florida State is a well-experienced team going into this semifinal match.
The Knights' coaching staff led by head coach Mike O'Neill was recently named 2021 North Region Staff of the Year. After his 100th career win against Drexel earlier this season, O’Neill is looking to produce a better result than his 2015 defeat against Penn State. The coaching staff helped create a historic Rutgers season with their most points scored and total regular-season wins.
The Knights will kickoff against Florida State at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.
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