PISCATAWAY, NJ – Senior Maggie Bopp (Lindenhurst, NY) scored a pair of goals in the final 1:09 of the game to power Rutgers to a 7-6 upset of sixth-ranked Notre Dame Sunday afternoon under rainy skies at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ. The win evens the Scarlet Knights’ record to 7-7 overall. With the victory, they finish their BIG EAST slate 3-3 for the second-consecutive season. Notre Dame falls to 10-4 on the season and 3-2 in league play.
It took nearly 12 minutes to paint the scoreboard before Notre Dame’s Lauren Fischer scored off a Meghan Murphy pass to pull out to a 1-0 lead.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as junior Emily Widrick (Carthage, NY) capitalized on a Notre Dame foul, converting a free-position shot for the Rutgers goal just 42 seconds later, tying it at 1-1.
The Irish appeared to take control of the game, scoring the next three goals of the contest to open a 4-1 lead. Rutgers would not succumb to the pressure, however, scoring a pair of goals to pull within a goal at 4-3 as halftime approached. Senior co-captain Cristina Curiale (Summit, NJ) scored a free-position goal with 7:26 remaining in the half and Widrick put an end to nearly six minutes of scoreless action with her second tally of the afternoon at the 1:38 mark.
Notre Dame tacked on a late goal before the half as ND’s Kassen Delano converted a free-position shot with 52 seconds remaining, giving the Irish a 5-3 halftime lead.
As the second half got underway, the skies opened up and what began as a mist turned into a steady pour as the second half progressed. The Scarlet Knight offense opened up as well, pouring in four of the game’s five goals in the final period.
Freshman Katie Batiuk (Jackson, NJ) extended her goal-scoring streak to five games with an unassisted score at the 23:14 mark of the second half to once again pull within one goal at 5-4. Notre Dame’s Meredith Simon, the BIG EAST’s leading scorer, capitalized on a free-position attempt for her lone goal of the afternoon to once again open a two-goal cushion (6-4) on the Scarlet Knights midway through the second half.
The goal proved to be the Irish’s final score of the afternoon. Rutgers cut the lead to a goal for the third time in the contest as freshman Jamie Farewell (Medford Lakes, NJ) scored her seventh goal of the season with 11:34 to play, making it 6-5 in favor of ND.
More than 10 minutes surpassed without a score and time seemed to be running out on the Scarlet Knights, but Bopp and her teammates continued to pressure hard in search for the tying score. Their efforts paid off with Bopp converting a free-position goal with 1:09 remaining in the game.
Despite the little time remaining on the clock, RU focused its efforts on gaining a solid opportunity for the winning goal. Rutgers forced a Notre Dame turnover with 45 seconds remaining to set up the winning score.
Bopp took a Batiuk pass and set up in front of the goalmouth, putting it past Irish goalie Carol Dixon for the game-winner with 20 seconds remaining, sending the Irish spiraling to their fourth-consecutive loss.
Junior goalie Lyndsey Feldman (Ft. Myers, FL) had another solid performance between the pipes for Rutgers, making eight saves, including a pivotal stop on a hard shot from Simon in the game’s final minutes. Dixon recorded seven saves for Notre Dame.
Sunday’s victory marks Rutgers’ second over a ranked team under second-year head coach Laura Brand. Last season Brand’s squad defeated No. 14 Yale, 15-12, at home. The victory also ends a three-game winning streak for Notre Dame in the series, which now stands at 3-2 in favor of ND.
Rutgers will host Old Dominion on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Yurcak Field in the Scarlet Knights’ regular season finale.