Knights frustrate Drexel with three-goal output
The Rutgers men’s soccer team knew heading into its matchup with Drexel on Friday that the Dragons were a physical team that was going to get rough with it.
What the Scarlet Knights did not expect was a downright slugfest between the two teams, ending with a total of three yellow cards and one red card for a studs-up tackle in their 3-1 win.
“I’ll be honest, that can be controlled and I’ll just say that,” said head coach Dan Donigan on the physicality. “It got a little bit out of hand there, and fortunately for our guys, they didn’t lack the composure or discipline to get a stupid yellow or a bad red. I feel very fortunate we got out of there without having something more serious happen to us.”
If Donigan felt the tensions rising from the sidelines, the players themselves definitely sensed them on the field.
“Toward the end of the second half they started getting chippy and they started fouling,” said freshman forward JP Correa. “But I think we kept our cool, and we didn’t do anything stupid and grinded out the game.”
Drexel’s frustrations occurred primarily because of the Rutgers offense, as three Knights put the ball in the goal to contribute to the win.
Sophomore Kene Eze capped off the offensive performance late in the game by beating a defender one-on-one to the left and slipped the ball past Drexel goalkeeper Pentti Pussinen.
It was the Knights’ final goal of the half, as senior Nate Bourdeau notched the second goal of the game on an assist in the 52nd minute from senior Nye Winslow.
“This really actually seems like the best team I’ve been a part of,” Eze said. “We can attack from anywhere on the field, we have great speed and that’s great for the team.”
Correa continued to add to the offense and was also a large part of Drexel’s frustrations, as he gave the Knights an early lead on an assist from senior forward Ibrahim Kamara at the top of the 18-yard box for a goal.
Correa now leads the team with two goals in his first year in a Rutgers uniform.
“It feels great. I’ve contributed in every game so far, and we are going to get great results because of it,” Correa said. “I’m happy here at Rutgers.”
Despite the moments of brilliance from the offense, Donigan was still disappointed in the overall performance from his team.
“I mean, at the end of the day we got the ‘W,’ which is great,” he said. “But the way we did it, for a good portion of this game … it was a huge portion where we did not play well. That’s frustrating, and we’re not going to be able to get the results we want if we have another performance like that. Other teams could come in here and blow our doors off.”
The coach cited inconsistencies on defense, which were most apparent in the second half when it allowed Drexel’s only goal late in the game.
“Sustaining consistency is what we need to do,” Donigan said. “The attack is a nice thing to have, but at the same time, soccer is a complete game. There are two sides to the ball and we have to bring both sides every night, and we didn’t do that tonight.”