While Ancin made a splash in her collegiate career, the team’s unsung leader was an unheralded homegrown talent named DiPaolo. The senior led the squad in scoring and played in all 33 games. In addition to her stellar play, DiPaolo was an integral part of the team, leading the team in shots and assists. With all these contributions, the team will be remembered for years to come.
Rutgers Women’s Soccer Acin played in 33 games
Lubos Ancin is returning to the Rutgers women’s soccer program after playing for the men’s team from 2007 to 2014. She returns to Piscataway to help supervise the goalkeeping corps, a position she held for the previous five seasons. The goalkeeper has helped the Scarlet Knights win back-to-back Big Ten titles, including two as a starter. Her teammates credit Ancin for making a significant impact on the team, and the program’s defensive unit has also benefitted.
At the end of her career, Ancin tied for third all-time for Rutgers’ scoring, and she was a dependable leader throughout the team. Although she played forward initially, she was more of a backfield force in the second half of her career. She ended her career with four goals and nine assists and earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. She currently coaches at the Players Development Academy.
After scoring seven goals in the Big Ten Tournament, Ancin’s team came up one goal shy of the NCAA Championship. However, Rutgers’ defense set a new standard in 2015, with the team’s goaltending defense earning NCAA team statistical titles in goals-against-average and shutout percentage. Rutgers was able to score on four penalty kicks and hold the Arkansas team to two. The team’s defense also held a 27-6 shot advantage, but the goalkeepers were unable to finish their chances until late in the game.
DiPaolo was an unheralded leader of the rutgers squad
At the end of her career, DiPaolo was tied for third in Rutgers’ history in games played. Initially a forward, DiPaolo closed her career as the leader in the backfield. She had four goals and nine assists during her time on the Scarlet. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 2011 and her master’s in 2013 and currently coaches at the Players Development Academy.
Under his leadership, DiPaolo has continued the tradition of academic excellence in the program. In the last six seasons, 81 Rutgers student-athletes have been recognized as Academic All-Big Ten. In 2018-19, Rutgers earned the College Women’s Team Academic Award from the United Soccer Coaches for the eighth consecutive year.
Murphy led the team with a GAA of 0.66, which made her the second-best freshman in the nation. She was selected as the 13th overall pick in the NWSL College Draft and later signed a professional contract with Montpellier Herault Sport Club in France. She was one of the first players to break the Rutgers record for goals allowed in a season.
DiPaolo led the team in scoring
Rutgers women’s soccer scored five goals against Villanova and eight against USF to improve to 13-2 overall. The team honored five seniors with two goals and an assist. Senior forward Tricia DiPaolo led the team in scoring with two goals and an assist. April Price and Maura McLaughlin each scored their first career goals.
Rutgers women’s soccer earned a 2-1 win over No. 7 Arkansas in the NCAA Tournament. The game went into overtime tied at 2-2. Neither team scored in the extra periods. Rutgers had a decisive advantage on penalty kicks, scoring on four of them. Arkansas only managed two, but they needed them twice.
In the Big Ten Tournament, Rutgers is the only Big Ten team still undefeated. In the national quarterfinals, the Scarlet Knights beat No. 1 Virginia on penalty kicks. The next weekend, Rutgers will face Penn State, Michigan, and Nebraska. The Scarlet Knights are now 13-2 and leading the Big Ten.
The junior center back played a vital role in Rutgers’ season. After making three assists, she played an integral role in the team’s playoff run. She also played in the U18 ECNL National final last year. She was named the MVP of the National Elite Soccer Showcase two years in a row. She was a four-year varsity letterwinner at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. She was also named to the honor roll at her high school and the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex soccer team.
DiPaolo was a homegrown player
Tricia DiPaolo is a former Rutgers women’s soccer player. She was a four-year captain and played for seven seasons before graduating from RU. In addition to collegiate soccer, DiPaolo played professionally for Sky Blue FC of the NWSL. She now serves as a student assistant coach at Rutgers University Soccer Youth Camps.
A member of Rutgers women’s soccer for six seasons, DiPaolo helped the team achieve a victory over the Huskies during her career. She suffered numerous injuries but persevered despite the challenges. In addition to scoring her first career goal, she was the driving force behind the Fearless Girl fundraising effort in conjunction with fellow Scarlet Knights Mandy Gonzalez and Samantha Saito.
Coach Mike O’Neill is entering his seventh season as head coach of Rutgers women’s soccer in 2020-21. In the past six seasons, the program has had 81 student-athletes earn Academic All-Big Ten honors. The team won its eighth consecutive College Women’s Team Academic Award. While the team’s program has been known for its athletic success, it’s often difficult to recruit top players, especially for a smaller school like Rutgers. That’s why Michael O’Neill, a New Jersey native, is an integral part of the Rutgers women’s soccer program.
Maria Murphy is the goalkeeper
As a sophomore, Maria Murphy set several Rutgers records while playing in goal. She was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy semifinal team and earned a spot on the United Soccer Coaches First Team. She was also named the 2015 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year. In addition, she was named to the NSCAA Second Team All-America. The following season, Murphy was drafted 13th overall in the NWSL College Draft by the Sky Blue FC. She signed a professional contract with the Montpellier Herault Sport Club of France. After her senior season, Murphy has already broken RU’s records for shutouts.
In 2018, Murphy moved to the U.S. to play professionally. She played in France for several years, but then signed with the OL Reign in Tacoma, Washington. The NWSL is a professional league, and Murphy wanted to get exposure in front of U.S. Soccer. She had only ten days at home before flying to Washington. Despite missing her first few games, Murphy made an excellent transition to collegiate play.
The Rutgers women’s soccer team continued to dominate the early season, winning 2-0 against Drexel Sunday. With this win, Rutgers has now scored 18 goals in five games and has steadily climbed the Division I rankings. A year ago, Rutgers’ record was three goals, but it has since reached a record-breaking five-game run.
Rutgers women’s soccer has a homegrown operation
There are some key elements to Mike O’Neill’s recipe for success with Rutgers women’s soccer. It goes beyond recruiting. Before interviewing for the head coaching position at Rutgers, Crooks made a decision. The New Jersey native had a successful coaching career in college, including at Long Island University and Saint Peter’s. He also asked a prominent club coach to come aboard as an assistant coach. The result is a team that plays a possession-based style.