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Ali’s Rutgers dominate the conference; Coffey named B1G Offensive Player of the Week

Ali and Coffey step up as the Big Ten regular season winds to a close.

Mike Lawrence/Rutgers Athletics

Portland Thorns’ 2021 draftees have been heating up recently. Sam Coffey has scored eight goals and registered five assists for the Penn State Nittany Lions and Amirah Ali has notched five goals and five assists.

Coffey’s Nittany Lions struggled at the start of conference play. The Nittany Lions were dealt their third consecutive loss on September 26 when Ohio State came to Jeffery Field and upset PSU 1-0.

Penn State quickly responded with a statement win. Coffey and her Nittany Lions traveled to Madison to take on #18 Wisconsin. The Badgers took an early lead in the 13th minute and it looked like PSU were in for another rough night. Coffey got the team back in the game with a blistering strike in the 31st minute.

Coffey lined up over the ball and struck a free kick into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. The strike was featured on SportsCenter as a Top Play the next morning. The Nittany Lions scored a late game-winner in the 81st minute to secure a much needed result.

The win against the ranked Wisconsin Badgers looked like it would be a potential turning point in the Nittany Lions’ fortunes but that hope was soon dashed by Minnesota. PSU traveled from Wisconsin to Minneapolis and were greeted with a 4-1 thrashing. The Golden Gophers were clinical, scoring four times with five shots on target.

The Nittany Lions rebounded at home against Maryland, dominating the Terrapins 5-1 courtesy of a Coffey masterclass. The midfielder opened the scoring in the 19th minute. She fired her shot across goal and into the bottom corner. The Terrapins equalized less than a minute later.

Coffey gave PSU the lead in the 28th minute and then doubled the lead in the 40th minute to complete a first half hat trick. She assisted Rachel Wasserman in the 47th minute to make it 4-1 before Ally Schlegel completed the rout with a goal in the 53rd minute. The Thorns draftee was awarded her second career B1G Offensive Player of the Week honor.

The Nittany Lions made it two wins in a row at home against Indiana on Oct. 13. PSU defeated IU 3-0 courtesy of a Coffey penalty kick goal sandwiched in between a Jordan Canniff brace.

Ali and the Scarlet Knights continue to dominate conference play and are now 7-0 in the Big Ten. Rutgers closed out September with a 1-0 win against Nebraska and a 2-1 win in Minnesota.

Ali assisted Frankie Tagliaferri to open the scoring against the Golden Gophers. The forward turned past her defender and played a nice ball into the penalty area that Tagliaferri poked home. Minnesota equalized in the 30th minute but Rutgers’ Allison Lynch scored the winner in the 50th minute.

The Scarlet Knights traveled to Columbus, OH to start October and came back from a goal down to win 2-1. Three days later Rutgers and Michigan played their rescheduled match in Piscataway, NJ. Rutgers scored in the 26th and 55th minute and Michigan notched in the 35th minute before Ali found the back of the net. She stepped up to take a penalty kick and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-1. The Scarlet Knights would add another goal late to defeat the Wolverines 4-1.

Rutgers continued their good form with a 1-0 win against Iowa before their most recent 5-2 drumming of Maryland. Ali was played through by Riley Tiernan and finished expertly to open the scoring. Rutgers doubled the lead from the spot before Maryland made it 2-1. The Scarlet Knights scored three unanswered goals before the Terrapins finally pulled another goal back in the 63rd minute.

Both Coffey and Ali and their respective teams have three regular season matches remaining. Penn State hosts #19 Purdue on Sunday, Oct. 17 before traveling to Michigan to play the Wolverines and the Spartans. The Scarlet Knights play Michigan State at home on Oct. 17 before traveling to Bloomington to face Indiana and Champaign to play Illinois.

The Big Ten Tournament will take place October 29-31 after the conclusion of the regular season.