Rutgers endures worst loss of season so far in 5-0 thrashing to No. 2 Indiana
The Rutgers men’s soccer team faced off against a familiar foe on Friday night and saw a similar result, as the first half of the season came and went.
The Scarlet Knights (1-7-1, 0-4-0) lost their fifth straight game and fourth straight conference game, when they traveled out west to face No. 2 Indiana (6-0-2, 2-0-2) on the road. The Hoosiers' No. 4-ranked defense held off the Knights in easy fashion, handing them their fourth shutout of the season.
Coming off a tough overtime loss to Canisius last Tuesday, Rutgers looked to take the lead in the rivalry series with Indiana, who now control it 2-1-1. This was the fourth straight year with a matchup between the two Big Ten teams.
After a 53-minute lightning delay halted play within the first seven minutes, the Knights still seemed to be in a delayed mode throughout the second half, not getting one shot off through the entire first 45 minutes. Indiana on the other hand got 12 shots in, resulting in 2 early goals.
First, in the 32nd minute, Hoosiers midfield-forward Cory Thomas finished a cross out on the left side from three yards out for the first goal of the game. Then, defender Timmy Mehl scored on a long free kick from 28 yards out in the 43rd minute, giving Indiana a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Rutgers got its first shot off in the 53rd minute of the game, when junior forward Miles Hackett had his shot blocked, but kept in play for the Knights.
The Hoosiers scored 2 goals less than 45 seconds apart from each other. With 58:38 on the clock, Indiana’s Thomas put in his second goal of the game, then watched as his teammate Austin Panchot gave the Hoosiers a 4-0 lead with 59:22 printed on the scoreboard.
Senior midfielder Erik Sa had his lone shot of the game saved by Indiana goalkeeper Trey Muse in the 61st minute. Sa scored the only goal for Rutgers in the 2-1 OT loss last Tuesday.
Hackett fiercely tried getting the Knights on the scoreboard, taking two consecutive shots in the 64th and 66th minutes, but both were saved by Muse. Hackett did attempt one more shot — his fourth of the game — but it was also blocked and sent the other way.
Senior midfield-forward Dante Perez had the one other shot for Rutgers — the sixth one of the half for the Knights — which was also blocked.
The Hoosiers added insult to injury in the 85th minute, scoring their fifth goal of the game before the referee blew the final whistle. The 5-0 loss could be considered the worst loss of the season for Rutgers.
Junior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira saved seven shots in the game, a season high for him, while Indiana outshot the Knights 20-6 for the game.
With the win, the Hoosiers are still one of eight teams in Division I without a loss this season. Indiana tied two games in a row, including one against another unbeaten Big Ten team, No. 3 Maryland.
Rutgers will try and bounce back this Tuesday night, as they will travel down US-1 South to Princeton to face the Tigers.
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