PISCATAWAY, NJ – Sophomore Domenique Esposito (Rivervale, NJ) struck a 25-yard blast into the upper left-hand corner to lift Rutgers (3-2) to a 1-0 upset of No. 12 Santa Clara (1-2-1) Sept. 10 at the Rutgers Classic. In the evening’s first match, Michigan State (6-0) defeated Rhode Island (2-3) 2-1.
Rutgers had several scoring opportunities, including a Carli Lloyd (Delran, NJ) shot just over the crossbar in the opening minutes and a Leia Rispoli (Kendall Park, NJ) move across the box in the first four minutes of the second half that went just wide of the far post. But it was Esposito who broke the scoreless tie with 30:16 on the clock, dribbling through the defense and launching a rocket from outside the box. Santa Clara turned up the pressure in the game’s final 30 minutes, nearly getting the equalizer with less than eight minutes to play when a shot by the Broncos was deflected by Rutgers keeper Robyn Jones (Titusville, NJ). The ball got past Jones and was headed towards the goal, but freshman back Ashley Lunemann (Hillsborough, NJ) knocked it off the goal line to preserve Rutgers’ lead.
“This is a tremendous victory for our program,” said fifth-year head coach Glenn Crooks. “I feel so good for our girls. This is a nice step for us. I thought we had the better of play from start to finish. All the credit has to go to our players. They worked so hard tonight.”
Jones made one save in goal for the Scarlet Knights (3-2). Julie Ryder made one stop for the Broncos.
Rutgers was picked seventh by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and sixth by Soccerbuzz in this week’s Mid-Atlantic Region Polls (Sept. 6). Santa Clara was picked 12th by the NSCAA and eighth by Soccerbuzz in this week’s Top 25 Polls. The Broncos were picked fourth by the NSCAA and second by Soccerbuzz in the West Region Polls.
In the first match of the night, the Spartans kept their perfect season start alive with a 2-1 victory against
Rhode Island. Michigan State took the early lead with an Erin Konheim goal from 15 yards out in the 14th minute. The score remained 1-0 in favor of the Spartans for the remainder of the first half, but the Rams evened the match in the 52nd minute thanks to a Debra Nelson cross to Megan Kasparek that found its way into the back of the net from 15 yards out.
The Spartans took the lead for good four minutes later when Lauren Zacharski’s shot hit off the post and Abby Shepherd snuck past two Ram defenders to punch the ball in on the goal line.
Michigan State won despite a marked disadvantage in scoring opportunities, as Rhode Island had more shots (11-4) and more corners (6-3) than the Spartans.
Michigan State’s Erin Carlson made two saves for the victory. Ria Carroll made one stop while playing the first 57:27 for Rhode Island, while Kirsten Marra did not have to make a save in her 32:33 of action.
Michigan State was picked fourth by the NSCAA and sixth by Soccerbuzz in this week’s Great Lakes Region Polls. The Spartans also received votes in this week’s NSCAA and Soccerbuzz Top 25 Polls. Rhode Island was picked 13th in this week’s Soccerbuzz Northeast Region Poll.
The Rutgers Classic will conclude with two matches Sunday, Sept. 12. Rhode Island will face No. 12 Santa Clara at 12:00 p.m., followed by Rutgers and Michigan State at 2:30 p.m.
Rutgers 1, No. 12 Santa Clara 0; Rutgers Classic; Sept. 10; Yurcak Field; Piscataway, NJ
Score By Periods
Santa Clara 0 0 0
Rutgers 0 1 1
Shots: SCU 3, Rutgers 6. Corner Kicks: SCU 3, Rutgers 3. Saves: SCU 1 (Ryder 1), Rutgers 2 (Jones 1, Team 1). Fouls: SCU 6, Rutgers 16. Offsides: SCU 1, Rutgers 6. Yellow Cards: SCU 0, Rutgers 0.
Time Goal Assist
RU 59:44 Domenique Esposito (2)
Michigan State 2, Rhode Island 1; Rutgers Classic; Sept. 10; Yurcak Field; Piscataway, NJ
Score By Periods
Rhode Island 0 1 1
Michigan State 1 1 2
Shots: URI 11, MSU 4. Corner Kicks: URI 6, MSU 3. Saves: URI 1 (Carroll 1, Marra 0), MSU 2 (Carlson 2). Fouls: URI 2, MSU 6. Offsides: URI 0, MSU 4. Yellow Cards: URI 0, MSU 0.
Time Goal Assist
MSU 13:27 Erin Konheim (2) Emma Harris (1)
URI 51:10 Megan Kasparek (2) Debra Nelson (1)
MSU 55:10 Abby Shepherd (1) Lauren Zacharski (4)