Rutgers sub Edwards comes up big in OT

November, 14, 2008
11/14/08
11:39
PM ET
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers freshman Jasmine Edwards found herself in the right place at the right time to score the first goal of her college career. Five minutes from the game's going to penalty kicks in a first-round game against Penn State, Edwards gave the Scarlet Knights a 2-1 win when she headed home a perfect corner kick from Gina DeMaio.

Not bad for a player who had to sprint onto the field in the seconds before the start of the second overtime period, apparently unsure she was supposed to be there.

"That could have been my fault," Rutgers coach Glenn Crooks said. "Usually during an overtime period, leading into the next, I don't make a switch. And she was on the field at the end of the first [overtime period, after coming on for Kelsey Dumont with three minutes to go]. Jasmine hasn't played that many minutes this year, so she's not used to hearing her name called."

Stepping up when your name is called has become par for the course for a team that has been hit hard by injuries -- leading scorer Caycie Gusman tore an ACL -- and national team commitments, losing Karla Schacher, Shannon Woeller and Jonelle Filigno for the entire season while they trained with the Canadian team for the Under-20 World Cup. And against Penn State, a team Rutgers outshot 22-12 in a 1-0 double-overtime loss when the teams met in September, it wasn't just the unsung freshman who heard that call.

Edwards' winner was the team's second goal set up by a set piece -- the first tied the game at 1-1 when Ashley Jones ripped a shot off from 20 yards in the scramble following another corner kick with 17 minutes to play in regulation. Soon after, Jones limped off for a brief rest, nursing a deep bone bruise on her leg that has plagued her since a collision in the last Penn State game. But for a team that watched five corner kicks go for naught in the regular-season loss against the Nittany Lions, set pieces were a theme, and every player was going to do her part.

"We have been pretty good," Crooks said of the team's set pieces. "Caycie Gusman was our leading scorer and she had scored several off of set pieces, and we kind of gave the team a little nudge in the pregame, saying, 'You know, really, we haven't been as effective at set pieces since Caycie suffered her injury.'"

With Friday's victory, Crooks earned win No. 100 of his Rutgers tenure and led the Scarlet Knights to the second round for the fourth time in four NCAA tournament appearances.

Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999.

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