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Draftee Watch: Rutgers & PSU handed first losses of the season; Coffey shines in 4-2 win over #3 UVA

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Ali and Rutgers break into the top ten; Coffey and PSU earn statement win vs. #3 UVA.

Lily Whitmoyer | Onward State

The Portland Thorns haven’t played in almost two weeks but that doesn’t mean there weren’t Thorns in action. The college soccer season is heating up and future Thorns Amirah Ali and Sam Coffey have both played three matches since we last checked in on them.

Ali and Rutgers took part in three matches with sizeable score lines. The Scarlet Knights scored three goals in each half against Monmouth to win 6-0. Ali only played 44 minutes. On Sep. 5, Ali and Rutgers beat La Salle 5-0. Ali scored her second goal of the season with an exquisite strike.

Ali received a pass on the top of the 18-yard box from Sara Brocious and cut inside past two La Salle defenders. She whipped her shot around her defender and into the top corner of the goal for her second goal of the season. Ali registered four shots (two on goal) and one goal in 37 minutes.

The most recent United Soccer Coaches Poll was released on Sep. 7. Rutgers moved up to ninth in the nation and Penn State fell seven spots to No. 14. The Nittany Lions beat #13 West Virginia 2-0 on Sep. 2 but were handed their first loss of the season against #18 University of Central Florida.

Coffey, as she usually does for Penn State, played an integral role in both matches. Against West Virginia, Coffey assisted the opener before Kerry Abello doubled the lead one minute later to secure the result for PSU.

UCF took the lead against the Nittany Lions in Orlando through Kristen Scott. Coffey knotted things up with a rocket in the 30th minute. The midfielder cut inside on her left foot and unleashed a rapturous shot that flew into the top corner of the goal.

The teams went into halftime tied at one. The second half kicked off but was quickly paused due to lightning in the area. The delay lasted well over two hours and when the match resumed Scott made it 2-1. The Nittany Lions pushed for the equalizer but were unable to find it due to some heroic defending by UCF.

Rutgers were handed their first loss of the season soon after breaking into the top ten. The Scarlet Knights hosted Princeton at Yurcak Field on Sep. 9. Rutgers got off to a dream start. Riley Tiernan opened the scoring in the seventh minute and Ali assisted Tiernan in the 22nd minute.

Princeton pulled one back before halftime and Rutgers quickly re-established their two-goal lead at the start of the second half. But Princeton scored three second-half goals, two from the penalty spot, to win 4-3.

Coffey and Penn State quickly put the loss to UCF behind them. They traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia to take on the third-ranked UVA Cavaliers. Coffey received a lofted pass and chested it down as she ran into the box in the 25th minute. She drove past two defenders and side-footed Penn State into the lead.

Two minutes later, Virginia’s Diana Ordonez tied the match. Payton Linnehan scored in the 38th minute and Coffey assisted Ally Schlegel from a corner kick to double the Nittany Lions’ lead. Ordonez fired a header into the back of the net in the 58th minute to make it 3-2 as UVA tried to mount a comeback.

Coffey and Schlegel combined again to put the match on ice. Coffey dribbled toward goal and played Schlegel in behind the UVA back line. Schlegel’s initial shot was saved and she shot again. The ball took a deflection off a defender and bounced into the back of the net. Coffey wasn’t credited with the assist and Schlegel wasn’t given the goal but that won’t bother the two veterans as they played an important role in a statement win.

Rutgers will look to emulate Penn State and bounce back from their first loss of the season against a ranked opponent. The Scarlet Knights travel to Washington, D.C. to take on #24 Georgetown on Sunday, Sep. 12 at 10 a.m. (Pacific). Four days later they will host Drexel at Yurcak Field at 4 p.m. (Pacific).

The Nittany Lions stay in Charlottesville to play North Carolina State on Sep. 12 at 12 noon (Pacific). Coffey and the Nittany Lions will then travel to Piscataway, NJ to take on Ali and her Scarlet Knights. Kickoff is slated for 9 a.m. Pacific on Sept. 19.