The Miami women’s soccer team fell to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 4-3 on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. The loss ends the season for Miami soccer.
The Hurricanes finished the regular season with a 9-9-1 record, 4-1-1 in the Big East conference and came into the game ranked No.2 in the Northeast division. Meanwhile, the Scarlet Knights (No. 3 in the Northeast division) improved to 10-7 on the season and 3-2 in conference play. Rutgers was led by last year’s Big East Rookie of the Year, Carli Lloyd, who also set the all-time record for total points in a single-season at Rutgers as a freshman.
It did not take long for the All-American to make her presence felt on the field. Within four minutes into the first half, Lloyd connected with a streaking Kelly Evans down the right side of the field, whose shot found the far corner of the net.
Lloyd finished the game with two assists for the game.
“We wanted to make sure that we knew as a team where she was,” said Miami head coach Tricia Taliaferro.
The fast paced Scarlet Knight offense kept the Hurricane defense on its toes much of the half, making crisp, long passes and winning several balls in one on one situations. Within 20 minutes into the half, Rutgers had built a three goal lead.
The Hurricanes had a great offensive opportunity in the 26th minute when freshman Lindsey Yach connected on a pass to Gitana Gotay, who subsequently managed to craft her way past several Scarlet Knight defenders before making a centering pass to the front of the net that got intercepted. The Scarlet Knights always kept two or three players around the ball, incessantly harassing the Hurricane forwards and giving up few opportunities in the first half.
The Hurricanes went into the locker room down 3-0 but came storming back in the second-half.
Within the first minute of the second half, Britney Butcher had a great opportunity for the Hurricanes as a consequence of a defensive blunder by the Scarlet Knights. However, Butcher’s shot missed the goal. After failing to convert on a subsequent opportunity, the Hurricanes redeemed themselves in a commanding fashion. In the 59th minute of the match, Anik Huffman scored from nearly 20 yards out on a perfectly placed shot that sailed past the goalie and landed in the left corner of the net. Two minutes later, the Hurricanes pulled to within one when Andrea Radice scored on a breakaway from a crosscourt pass by Vonda Matthews.
Radice played an integral part in the Hurricane comeback, finishing the match with one goal and two assists. The local product out of Hialeah will be one of thirteen returning underclassmen next year.
“We played more aggressive; we knew that we could come back because they came back against us,” said Lindsay Yach.
However, the Hurricanes’ momentum was quickly sapped when Danae Risoli scored the second of her two goals for the Scarlet Knights to seal the match for her team. Despite pulling to within one on a goal by Yach, the Hurricanes ran out of time.
“I am pleased overall with the season. We did not get as many wins as we wanted to but I think that we are a better team than when we started in August and that is something I am really proud of,” said Taliaferro.
As yet another chapter in the saga of women’s soccer closes, a new one is set to begin next season with greater potential and talented, experienced players.
You can reach Sandeep Konka at email@example.com.