Casey Murphy first-year goalie for the Scarlet Knights women’s soccer team

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Casey Murphy’s shutout of Penn State on October 11 led to her being named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the second straight week as well as the Freshman of the Week.

Photography: 
courtesy of Rutgers Athletics Communications

In its inaugural year competing as a new member of the Big Ten®, the Scarlet Knights are enjoying their share of memorable firsts. Already, the football team has knocked off its first conference opponent, the University of Michigan Wolverines, prevailing in adramatic win, 26–24, at High Point Solutions Stadium on October 4.

The significance of the victory was perhaps eclipsed a week later when the Scarlet Knights women’s soccer team, which had been on a six-game tear (10-1-1; 6-1-1, Big Ten) leading up to its game against Penn State, defeated the Nittany Lions, 1–0, sending Penn State to its first loss of the season in Big Ten Conference play. The star of the game was first-year goalie Casey Murphy, who was facing a Penn State team accustomed to scoring nearly three goals a game. The shutout, the fourth straight for Murphy and her eighth of the season, led to her being named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week as well as the Freshman of the Week. Her goals against average is a stingy 0.33, her save percentage of .902 leads the Big Ten, and her record of eight shutouts is second in the conference.

Meanwhile, sophomore forward Madison Tiernan scored what ended up being the game-winning goal for the Scarlet Knights in the 29th minute of the first half, her fourth goal of the season. Three of Tiernan’s four goals this year have been game winners, tying her for second in the conference. Her timely goal led to her being named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week.

By game’s end, Rutgers, whose defense played with poise in front of Murphy, especially as the Nittany Lions pressed for the tying goal, had allowed just four goals in 12 matches for the year.

“We always talk about the next game being the biggest game, and that’s what it was,” said first-year head coach Mike O’Neill. “Playing Penn State, we know that they’re very well coached and a nationally recognized program. It was a tight game, but it was important for us to get three points. We stayed focused on the task at hand, and now we just have to stay humble and hungry. It was a good team effort with good team defending—a total team effort.”