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Ali’s Rutgers advance to Elite Eight; Coffey’s PSU knocked out in third round

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Ali helps Rutgers to the Scarlet Knight’s first NCAA Quarterfinals appearance since 2015.

Rutgers Athletics/NCAA.com

Portland Thorns’ draftees Amirah Ali and Sam Coffey have led their teams to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament and both Rutgers and Penn State advanced to the third round. Ali’s Scarlet Knights were able to survive a penalty shootout and advance to the Elite Eight but Coffey’s Nittany Lions were eliminated by South Carolina.

Amirah Ali’s Scarlet Knights

Rutgers responded well after their 1-0 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament Final. The Scarlet Knights hosted Bucknell to start the NCAA Tournament. The match was originally scheduled for November 13 but was rescheduled for November 14 due to the weather. Frankie Tagliaferri and Riley Tiernan scored and Rutgers advanced to the second round.

The Scarlet Knights hosted Saint Louis in the second round. Amirah Ali played her 100th career collegiate match and celebrated by notching the opener and assisting the second of four Rutgers goals.

Rutgers met Yazmeen Ryan’s alma mater TCU in the third round. Again Amirah Ali was the protagonist and put the Scarlet Knights in front. Rutgers were unable to double their lead and TCU found an equalizer in the 85th minute. Neither team was able to find a winner in regulation nor extra time and the match would be settled from the penalty spot.

Rutgers keeper Meagan McClelland saved three consecutive penalties and the Scarlet Knights defeated TCU 5-4 in the shootout. The Scarlet Knights will play two-seeded Arkansas in the Elite Eight. The match is scheduled for Friday, November 26 at 4 p.m. PST.

Sam Coffey’s Nittany Lions

Coffey’s Nittany Lions opened the tournament against Monmouth on November 12. Penn State scored in the 26th, 39th and 75th minute to go 3-0 up. Monmouth pulled one back in the 78th minute and the match ended 3-1.

The Nittany Lions faced No. 11 University of Southern California in the second round on November 19. Ally Schlegel put Penn State in front in the 21st minute. USC equalized in the 49th. Coffey played a flighted ball into stride for Schlegel in the 57th minute, who made no mistake and made it 2-1. The Trojans found a second game-tying goal late in the match.

The game went to extra time and the teams were unable to break the deadlock. Coffey stepped up and converted the first penalty in the shootout and the Nittany Lions eventually upset USC 3-2 on penalties.

The Nittany Lions’ run and Coffey’s amazing collegiate career were brought to an end on November 21. Penn State faced South Carolina in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions were unable to find the back of the net and the Gamecocks scored twice.