Rutgers suffers gut wrenching loss to Penn State, remain winless with two games left in season
The Rutgers men’s soccer team suffered its 12th defeat of the season Friday night, but this one, a 3-2 defeat to Big Ten rival Penn State in double-overtime, perhaps hurt most of all.
The Scarlet Knights (0-12-2) tied the match up twice after playing from behind for most of the match, but were unable hold off the Nittany Lions for another three minutes as a goal in the 107th minute by junior forward Aymar Sigue lifted Penn State to victory.
“I’m just absolutely gutted for our guys, they came to play tonight against a very good Penn State team,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “It’s very disheartening, and I’m just really gutted for our guys more than anything. I give the guys credit, they came to play. We felt very good, we battled back twice. We thought we were gonna get it but unfortunately we gave up that third goal. It was a mistake in the back and the kid just finished it. More gutted than anything for our guys.”
In the opening minutes of the first half, both teams were trading shots providing equal opportunities to put one in net.
It wasn’t until the 33rd that the Nittany Lions broke the scoreless game via Frankie De La Camara’s goal on a shot taken from 18-yards out at the edge of the box towards the left side that beamed past a diving David Greczek, giving Penn State a 1-0 lead.
A dead even first half in shots (7) and saves (4) had everyone at Jeffery Field on their feet on a cool and wet Friday night.
Rutgers came out of the second half fired up, which was visible in its play. A goal in the 49th minute was scored by junior forward Dante Perez and assisted by junior striker Jason Wright, and was recorded due to a bad pass by the Nittany Lions. Perez was able to receive the pass from teammate Wright, shooting it past a diving Evan Finney and tying the game up at a goal apiece.
As the half continued, Penn State tried to build up momentum but got denied by Greczek on numerous occasions. The senior goalkeeper practically stood on his head all night, making phenomenal saves and keeping his team in the game the whole night.
It wasn’t until the 75th minute when Connor Maloney, Penn State’s leading scorer, juked out four defenders tapping the ball past Greczek putting the Nittany Lions up 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining.
What looked like an automatic Penn State win with two minutes left turned into a magical goal that was tapped in by freshman Tim Mcquaid off of a header from Kieran Kemmerer that was originally a corner kick taken by junior Ryan Peterson to tie the game at 2-2 forcing overtime.
“It was a corner from Ryan Peterson, it was a really good whip ball in and Kieran made a really good run and luckily got a head to it,” Mcquaid said. “I was right there to tap it in and tie the game.”
The Knights entered overtime for a fifth time this season. Battling with the Nittany Lions for 17 minutes in extra time was all Rutgers could handle as it let up a game-winning goal with two minutes remaining.
Sigue made a move on freshman Mcquaid leaving him disoriented. Sigue then drove the ball in to give himself a one on one matchup with Knights keeper Greczek who wasn’t able to come up big this time allowing a third goal of the game and conceding defeat.
And although Penn State walked away with a win, some believe Rutgers was still the better team.
“I think that they were pretty good, I still think we were the better team,” Perez said. “They just got lucky in the end, there’s nothing you can do.”
The winless Knights team will have two more opportunities to taste victory in the regular season. Rutgers will host Columbia on Tuesday, when eight seniors will be honored for their play on the Banks.
For updates on the Rutgers men’s soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.