UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A goal in the 29th minute from sophomore Madison Tiernan and a strong defensive effort gave No. 20 Rutgers a 1-0 win at No. 6 Penn State Saturday night. The victory was the program’s first against a top-10 opponent since 2008.
“We always talk about the next game being the biggest game, and that’s what it was,” head coach Mike O’Neill said. “Playing Penn State, we know that they’re very well coached and a nationally recognized program. It was a tight game, but it was important for us to get three points. We stayed focused on the task at hand and now we just have to stay humble and hungry. It was a good team effort with good team defending -- a total team effort.”
Tiernan gave the Scarlet Knights the lead in the 29th minute, creating space from about 20 yards out to set up a left-footed finish. The goal was her fourth of the season and first since posting the game-winner at Iowa on Sept. 28.
Best B1G story this year is @RUWSoccer. Latest win at Penn State has coach Mike O'Neill's team at 10-1-1 overall.— Tom Luicci (@TomLuicci) October 11, 2014
Penn State, which entered the match averaging 2.85 goals per game as one of the nation’s best attacks, turned up the pressure in the final 10 minutes in a frantic effort to get on the board. The Nittany Lions tallied six of their 10 shots and three of their eight corners in that time frame, with Rutgers freshman goalkeeper Casey Murphy punching the ball out on numerous occasions.
But Murphy ended the contest with three saves and RU (10-1-1, 6-1-1 Big Ten) held off the Nittany Lions, giving Penn State (12-2-0, 7-1-0 Big Ten) its second shutout of the season in what was its second overall loss. The rest of the team did their part on the defensive end as well, blocking multiple Penn State shots and preventing plenty of others to post the team’s ninth shutout of the year.
RU now has 19 points in its first year in the league after entering the weekend third in the conference standings.