Women’s Football No. 6 scores three unanswered for top LSU, 3-2

PISCATAWAY, NJ – When Sam Kroeger scored the final 85th-minute game-winning goal against LSU, the ensuing celebration at the corner flag was in honor of much more than the score that helped Rutgers women’s soccer beat the Tigers, 3- 2, Sunday afternoon at Yurcak Field.

The Scarlet Knights were celebrating what happened in the locker room at halftime, as the clock stood still and Rutgers led LSU, 2-0. The Scarlet Knights were celebrating achieving a preseason goal: posting a perfect record through non-conference play. The Scarlet Knights were celebrating – 27 players – that it took a program-wide effort to score three unanswered goals to keep the 8-0-0 dream alive.

“We came out a bit slow, and we knew we would need to step up in the second half,” said the second-year forward. Riley Tiernan, which assisted the winning goal. “At halftime we told ourselves to relax and play our game. We weren’t going to let someone come into our house and take our win away from us. We set ourselves non-conference goals and the one was to stay unbeaten. That second half was the only thing that stood between us and our goal, so we found a way to do that.”

Tiernan assisted a pair of goals from Kroeger as the latter became the team’s top scorer with six in the 2022 season. The first came in the 50th minute, when Tiernan’s cross attempt took a deflection fortuitous to the feet of Kroeger, who buried it to halve the Tigers’ lead to 2-1.

Kylie Daigle leveled the contest in the 74th minute with one of the finest strikes of 2022. Settling a pass from Giana Romano, Daigle caught LSU off guard with a sneaky 25-yard left-footed radiator that peeked low off the crossbar on its way to the top right corner of LSU’s goal. It was Daigle’s fourth goal and the sixth straight fight with a point for the sophomore midfielder from Millville, New Jersey.

Kroeger grappled again with a Tiernan-assisted burst in the 85th minute, leading to her patented corner flag dropkick celebration and culminating the comeback.

These Scarlet Knights become one of only two teams in program history to start an 8-0-0 campaign, joining the 2015 College Cup squad that started with the same 8-0-0 record before losing their ninth contest of this season. No Rutgers team has ever gone 9-0-0 to start a campaign.

“At halftime, we talked about coming back and being us”, the head coach Mike O’Neill said. “The mentality, the attitude, the commitment, the desire to win the game was there in the second half. You could see it. It was two different halves. Without that mentality, the result was going to be difficult to continue. Honesty is the best policy and it took 27 strong people, a great team effort from everyone that we are very proud of.”

The three unanswered goals were able to win the game thanks to the Rutgers defense which also bounced back after conceding two goals in the first 45 minutes. After LSU had four shots on target in the first half, the Scarlet Knights didn’t allow a single shot on goal in the second half and limited overall attempts to six-for-10 in the first half.

LSU beat Rutgers, 16-14, but the Scarlet Knights were more accurate with an 8-4 shots advantage. Becci Fluchel, Allison Lynch, Emily Mason, Adriana Kuryla, Sara Brocious, and Tiernan all put in a full 90-minute effort in the victory from behind. Kroeger, who played 87 minutes, scored the game winner nine minutes after resting for three minutes.

KNIGHT NOTES

  • The 8-0-0 start is the second in Rutgers women’s history, joining the team’s 8-0-0 start from 2015 on their way to the College Cup that year. The 2015 team lost their ninth game. No Rutgers women’s soccer team has gone 9-0-0 to start a year.
  • Rutgers come from behind to win for the third time this season, and the second game in a row.
  • The Rutgers defense limited all eight opponents to five or fewer shots on goal.
  • Sam Kroeger notched his second career double. She now has two doubles in the last three matches.
  • Career goals: Kroeger (12), Daigle (7)
  • Career assist ratings: Tiernan (19), Romano (4)
  • Emma Misal made his 2022 debut in the win, playing 16 minutes.
  • Rutgers won their first-ever meeting with LSU.

NEXT: The Scarlet Knights begin their Big Ten championship defense Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. against Ohio State at Yurcak Field.

Stay up to date with the latest news and schedule updates by following Rutgers Women’s Soccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Download the Scarlet Knights app for Apple or Android today.
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