ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 8 2013) – The No. 3 Rutgers women’s soccer team advanced to the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship game, taking a 2-1 penalty kick shootout over No. 7 Memphis Friday night at the UCF Soccer Complex.
Redshirt senior Jess Janosz (Ringwood, N.J.) made two saves in the shootout and four more in regulation to hold Memphis off, while sophomore Erica Skroski (Galloway, N.J.) and redshirt senior Tricia DiPaolo (Sparta, N.J.) converted their PK attempts for RU.
The Scarlet Knights will take on No. 1 UCF Sunday at noon. The match will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
“It was a ragged game but when we look back at it what we’re going to see is an unbelievable effort in the second half,” said head coach Glenn Crooks. “The effort is what I’ll take away from this game and we played better football in the second half and in the overtime where we had some legitimate opportunities.
“I’m so proud of Jess. She came up big in every opportunity in this game and in order to win a championship in this game your keeper has to come up big.”
The squads played to a scoreless tie in regulation and two overtimes, as the Scarlet Knights (13-4-3, 5-3-1) backline was able to ward off the Tigers (13-7-1, 4-5) throughout the match. Despite being outshot, 10-5, by Memphis, RU and the Tigers went scoreless in the 20 minutes of extra play, leading to the first shootout for the Scarlet Knights since 2008.
Memphis led off the shootout with Kaitlin Atkins, who got two attempts at her penalty kick after Janosz was whistled for initially crossing over the goal line on a diving save.
Janosz came back to swat the next PK attempt, which brought up Skroski for the Scarlet Knights first attempt. Skroski buried her shot, giving RU a 1-0 edge after the first round of PKs.
Memphis’s next penalty kick by the leaque’s leading scorer, Val Sanderson, sailed high and off the crossbar to maintain RU’s 1-0 lead. Janosz then saved the subsequent Tigers attempt to preserve a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth round of PKs, with RU and Memphis tied following a conversion by Carly Cassady, DiPaolo stepped up to deliver the game-clinching kick of the Scarlet Knights.
Memphis missed its next PK to seal the win, sending RU to its first conference final since assistant coach Meg Ryan captained the squad in 2006.
Kaitlin Atkins (UofM) saved by Janosz, 0-0.
Skroski converts, 1-0 RU.
Valerie Sanderson misses high. 1-0 RU.
Cole saved by Bard-Martel, 1-0 RU.
Kelley Gravlin saved by Janosz, 1-0 RU.
Scholz misses high, 1-0 RU.
Carly Cassidy scores, 1-1.
DiPaolo converts, 2-1 RU.
Emily Adamic misses high, 2-1 RU FINAL.
The winner of Sunday’s American Athletic Conference Final earns an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
- RU won by penalty kicks for the first time since advancing, 4-2, over Oklahoma State in the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 16, 2008.
- The Scarlet Knights will compete in their first conference final since 2006.
- After tying Memphis and advancing on penalty kicks, Rutgers is on a three-match unbeaten streak.
- The Tigers outshot RU, 10-5. It was the first game this season the Scarlet Knights won after being outshot by an opponent.
- Freshman Ali Ryan (Bowie, Md.) made her second straight start against Memphis.
- Redshirt senior Jonelle Filigno (Mississauga, Canada) suffered an injury in the first half of action and did not return.
- The Scarlet Knights backline of Skroski, DiPaolo, sophomore Brianne Reed (Tinton Falls, N.J.) and freshman Erin Smith (Medford Lakes, N.J.) logged all 110 minutes of action against Memphis.
- RU was held off the scoreboard for just the second time this season.
- Friday’s semifinal was the second neutral match for the Scarlet Knights of 2013. Both resulted in ties.
- The Scarlet Knights’ win halted a four-game Memphis winning streak.
- The shutout was Janosz’s seventh of the season.
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