August 18, 2019 | 81° F

Rutgers reaches draw in double-overtime

The kings of New Jersey collegiate soccer will have to wait another year to be crowned.

The Garden State derby between the Rutgers men’s soccer team and Monmouth left Hesse Field at the Great Lawn splitting the result in a 0-0 draw after 110 minutes of action.

Two extra-time periods were not enough to separate two evenly matched sides in a scoreless yet exhilarating match.

In a game where both teams took turns controlling possession and creating chances, neither was able to put the ball in the back of the net.

Senior defender Mitchell Lurie was content with the performance from his team in a contest that had everything but goals.

“It was a great battle by both teams,” the fifth-year senior said. “We played some very good soccer. To be honest with you, I think we deserved to win that game. We had quality chances, we played well all over the park. I thought Jason Wright did a very good job holding the ball up, letting guys run off of him. If we continue to play good soccer like we’re doing, goals are going to come and we’re going to be extremely successful.”

It should come as no surprise that the state derby between the Scarlet Knights (2-2-1) and the Hawks (2-3-1) featured a starting lineup with 15 players from the Garden State.

But it was an international player who caused the most concern to Monmouth goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky.

Sophomore forward Jason Wright forced the “6'8" guy between the pipes,” as head coach Dan Donigan referred to him, to make a couple of fantastic saves to keep the contest scoreless.

The Jamaican U-23 international team member believes the Knights need to be more clinical in front of goal.

“I think we’re lacking a bit of composure around the box,” Wright said. “I think that’s a major issue. If we can be more composed around the box, just seek better play, we’ll do better. We need to be more composed around the 18-yard box.”

Wright knows his team is playing quality soccer but without scoring goals, he can’t see this season being a successful one.

“We played well but it’s just unfortunate about the goals we haven’t been scoring,” he said. “I think we need to work on our finishing as a team. Not scoring is obviously going to be a problem because goals win games. If we’re not scoring, it’s going to be a tough season. It’s a bit frustrating but we just have to keep working at it.”

Frustration mounted as the Knights piled on the pressure throughout the match but were unable to break the deadlock. With two minutes in regulation, JP Correa missed what seemed like the millionth chance created by Rutgers and his captain Mitch Lurie did not appear content. The fifth-year senior fell onto the ground and slapped the turf to demonstrate the desperation he and his team felt.

“That’s just me in the middle of the game. It’s just passion,” the Alpharetta, Georgia, native said. “We’re creating a ton of good chances. JP, Mitchell Taintor, Jason, you name it, everyone was creating chances. We’ve just been unlucky and unable to find the back of the net. Keeper made some good saves. That was just me in the middle of the game in the heat of the moment because we were right there.”

Although a draw isn’t an ideal result, Donigan was pleased with what his team did in West Long Branch against a worthy opponent and believes once the goals start coming, they won’t stop.

“I was happy with the way our guys played and fought,” he said. “Monmouth's a very good team. They’re very well coached, they’re disciplined, they can create some problems for you going forward. They have some weapons and they can be very dangerous. … I thought we played some really good soccer.”

“I think the goals will come. We’re a bit unfortunate right now, we have a bit of a low on our scoring output, but if we continue to play the way we’ve been playing in the past couple of games, the goals will come and that’s when the W’s will come.”

For updates on the Rutgers men’s soccer team, follow @briannnnf and @TargumSports on Twitter.

Brian Fonseca

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