Sophomore goalkeeper Casey Murphy and senior center back Brianne Reed


Sophomore goalkeeper Casey Murphy and senior center back Brianne Reed were named among the sport’s top 10 players at their positions by last year.

Nick Romanenko

If Brianne Reed has her way, Casey Murphy won’t be touching the ball much this fall. Reed, a senior who is a center back on the Scarlet Knights women’s soccer team, prefers to keep it in front of her—and away from sophomore goalkeeper Murphy—as much as possible. “But I know we’re not perfect; we’re going to make mistakes,” she says. “Knowing that we have Casey to stop the ball is very  reassuring.”

Rest assured, Murphy will stop nearly anything that comes her way, as she deftly demonstrated all last season during her stellar first year at Rutgers. Murphy, who hails from Bridgewater, New Jersey, was named the goalkeeper on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team after registering a .829 save percentage, 63 saves, 10 shutouts, and one combined shutout while allowing just 13 goals in 20 matches.

Murphy and Reed were crucial to last year’s highly successful first season in the Big Ten, one of the top conferences in women’s college soccer. Rutgers finished fourth in the conference, going on to its fifth NCAA tournament berth in seven years while finishing number 25 in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Poll.

Reed, from Tinton Falls, New Jersey, was selected to the NSCAA All-America Third Team and named First Team All-Big Ten for her defense in 2014. Leading a defense that allowed a minuscule 0.64 goal against average, Reed and Murphy were named among the sport’s top 10 players at their positions by

With returning back-line standouts such as seniors Erica Skroski, Maggie Morash, and Cassidy Benintente, along with junior Erin Smith, expectations for 2015 are understandably high. Murphy and Reed believe a Big Ten championship is within reach.

It only helps that Murphy is fresh from the first international experiences of her career, competing in the Under-19 La Manga Tournament in La Manga, Spain, and with the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team in the 2015 U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational, where she was the starting keeper in games against Japan, Mexico, and Brazil. “It really opened my eyes,” she says. “International play is very different from the college game. Those were three completely different styles we had to adjust to.”

Both players look forward to stoking burgeoning rivalries with Big Ten opponents. The Scarlet Knights beat Maryland, 1–0, in September, and Penn State is just around the corner (the Nittany Lions’ 1–0 loss to Rutgers was its lone conference loss in 2014). “Can’t wait to play them at home this year,” says Reed, whose physical style is well suited for Big Ten play. “I take pride in my ability to make a strong tackle and set the tone for a game.”