The Big Ten regular season has come to an end and Portland Thorns’ draftees Sam Coffey and Amirah Ali now prep for the collegiate postseason. Coffey and Ali will lead their respective schools in the Big Ten Tournament but the Nittany Lions and Scarlet Knights enter the tournament in vastly different form.
Ali and Rutgers won their previous three matches against Michigan State, Indiana and Illinois. The Scarlet Knights celebrated senior night with a 1-0 win at home against the Spartans before hitting the road to close out the Big Ten regular season.
Rutgers defeated Indiana in Bloomington 2-0 on October 21. Ali hustled to a bouncing ball in the box in the 22nd minute. She brought it down expertly before placing the ball perfectly in the bottom corner of the goal to give Rutgers a 1-0 lead. Frankie Tagliaferri doubled the score in the 51st minute and there was no way back for the Hoosiers.
The Scarlet Knights closed out the Big Ten regular season with a 3-0 victory, in which Ali notched a brace. Allison Lowery opened the Scarlet Knights’ account in the 37th minute and Ali scored twice in the second half to solidify a perfect Big Ten Regular season for Rutgers.
— RUWS | BIG TEN CHAMPIONS (@RUWSoccer) October 23, 2021
✅Perfect 10-0 #B1GWSOC record
✅Program-record 11 straight wins
✅Program-best 15 regular season wins
✅ 18 Scarlet Knights contributing to scoring
✅ 9 total shutouts
And more to come!
Rutgers finished conference play with a Big Ten women’s soccer record 10-0, are currently a program-record 11 games unbeaten, and won a program-best 15 matches. The Scarlet Knights are the Big Ten regular season champions and are up to No. 6 in the nation in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll.
️⚔️The 2021 Big Ten Champions climb the ranks up to #6 in the latest United Soccer Coaches Poll! #RUWS posted a perfect 10-0 in league play, claiming the first #B1GWSOC title in program history! RU extended its win streak to a program-best 11 straight with two road wins! pic.twitter.com/QAM1Rc9ITG— RUWS | BIG TEN CHAMPIONS (@RUWSoccer) October 26, 2021
Ali has three goals in her last two matches and seems to be firing on all cylinders just as the Scarlet Knights ready themselves for the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. Ali has racked up eight goals, five assists and 21 points, and if she and Tagliaferri are linking up well there isn’t a defense in the country that shouldn’t be worried.
Coffey and Penn State closed out their regular season with two wins and a draw to finish 11-6 overall and 5-5 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions hosted No. 19 Purdue on Oct. 17. The Boilermakers opened the scoring in the 58th minute and looked well on their way to spoiling Penn State’s senior night. The Nittany Lions had other ideas. Jordan Caniff equalized before Coffey assisted Ally Schlegel for the winner in the 78th minute.
The pass from ☕️ ➡️ the finish by Schlegel pic.twitter.com/3T0HYt5vA1— Penn State Women’s Soccer (@PennStateWSOC) October 17, 2021
The Nittany Lions then traveled to Michigan to take on the University of Michigan and Michigan State. Penn State lost to the Wolverines 2-0 and defeated the Spartans 2-1. Regardless of the Nittany Lions’ results, Coffey has had a good season. She has amassed eight goals, six assists and 22 points and is far more influential than those already good numbers imply.
Penn State will need to clean up their leaky defense if they are to make a run in the Big Ten Tournament. They have the talent to challenge for the title but they have been hindered by injury and things just haven’t clicked for the Nittany Lions this year.
Coffey and the Nittany Lions will have to return to Ann Arbor to play Michigan in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State will play the Wolverines on Oct. 31 at 10 a.m. PST with a spot in the semifinals on the line.
⚽ # !— Big Ten Soccer (@B1GSoccer) October 24, 2021
Eight teams will kick off postseason play Oct. 31, beginning their chase to the #B1G Tournament title and an automatic berth into the @NCAASoccer Tournament.
️ https://t.co/FhR67kqB7x pic.twitter.com/1nImZHj9LR
Ali and the Scarlet Knights will also play on Oct. 31. They will take on the Wisconsin Badgers in Piscataway, NJ at 12:30 p.m. PST.
The Big Ten Tournament semifinals will be played on Nov. 4 and the final will take place three days later on Nov. 7.