Rutgers suffers worst loss in 15 years
After three games on the road to open its 2018 campaign, the Rutgers men’s soccer team came to Yurcak field in Piscataway for the first time this season, looking to come away with a win for the home crowd.
The game ended with a result that wasn’t seen in many years, but not one that the home team was on the right side of.
The Scarlet Knights (1-3) dropped their home opener Sunday night to Elon (2-1) by a score of 8-1. The 8 goals allowed and 7-goal margin were both the most given up by a Rutgers team in more than 15 years. For the Phoenix, it was the most goals they've scored in a game since joining Division I athletics in 1999.
“We have to stay together collectively as a group and recover from this game and bounce back. Tonight for whatever reason was not to be for us,” said head coach Dan Donigan, according to the scarletknights website.
The Knights found themselves down 4-0 by halftime, as Elon’s Iñigo Bronte had a hat trick 28 minutes in, and John Walden added one of his own at 34 minutes. Junior Jordan Hall scored his team-leading second goal of the season 48 minutes in, but the Phoenix added 4 more goals, including a Rutgers own goal, to bury any chance of a Knights comeback.
Elon outshot Rutgers 15-11 on the night and had seven corner kicks to the Knights’ two. It was the first time the team had that few corners since a loss to Columbia last year.
Despite the loss, Rutgers saw the debut of junior Joe Bruno in goal. After two years at Lafayette, the player from Edison, New Jersey made his first appearance in the net since coming to the Banks and made three saves. He relieved senior Rafael Pereira 60 minutes into the game after the Portuguese native allowed his seventh goal of the night.
The Knights return to the pitch to take on Hartford (0-3-1) for the first time in eight years. Donigan said there was a lot to take away from their last game, but things can change if the right work is done.
"We have to find answers to solve some of the problems that went out there tonight, and if we can do that, I still feel this group will be okay," Donigan said. "I don't want to downplay it, but at the same time, I don't want this to kill anything we had going because we worked really hard to this point and ran into a major roadblock tonight. We can't let this break us.”
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