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What goes up, must come down.The Rutgers men’s soccer team faced Maryland on Wednesday riding high on a seven-game winning streak with a chance to win the first Big Ten regular season title in any sport in school history.The Scarlet Knights' dreams — along with the third-longest active winning streak in Division I men’s soccer — came crashing down as they suffered a 3-1 defeat to the Terrapins that pulled them down two spots to a fourth-place finish in the conference standings.The Knights refuse to make any excuses for the loss and recognized they were outplayed.“We got beat by Maryland,” said head coach Dan Donigan.
The Rutgers men’s soccer team entered College Park on Wednesday with a chance to make history by becoming the first program in school history to win a Big Ten regular season title in any sport and earn the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament.But by the end of the night, the Scarlet Knights returned home thinking about what could have been.After keeping five clean sheets during a seven-game winning streak, the Knights conceded three goals to Maryland in a 3-1 loss.
Decision day — the day the dust settles and everything is put into place — is here.Wednesday is the final day of regular season play in Big Ten men’s soccer and there is still much to be decided before the start of the conference tournament this weekend.
When the final whistle blew at Yurcak Field to signal the end of the match between the Rutgers men’s soccer team and budding Big Ten rival Penn State on Oct.
In the thick of a tight race for the Big Ten Conference regular season title, the No. 21 Rutgers men’s soccer team has its biggest match since joining the conference last season looming ahead.But before the Scarlet Knights travel to College Park to face Maryland on Wednesday, they hosted Nebraska-Omaha in their final regular season match at Yurcak Field of 2015 Saturday afternoon.The Knights (11-4-1, 4-3-0) took care of business on Halloween in a 1-0 shutout victory over the Mavericks to extend their winning streak to seven games.
The Rutgers men’s soccer team will put its six-game winning streak on the line on Halloween at Yurcak Field.
With 35 minutes remaining in the Rutgers men’s soccer team’s match against Loyola (Md.) earlier this season, senior midfielder Mitchell Taintor placed the ball about 30 meters from goal and lined up for a free-kick. He took a deep breath, stepped up and unleashed a vicious strike that bounced off the post and ricochetted into the goal past Tyler Beaudoin.While the goal was insignificant for the Scarlet Knights — they had been up 4-0 prior to the score — it was the most important goal of Taintor’s career.Two weeks earlier, on Sept.
Defense wins championships.If this age-old sports cliché is as true as it is hyped up to be, the Rutgers men’s soccer team seemed hopeless in its pursuit for the first piece of silverware as a member of the Big Ten midway through the season.In their first nine matches, the Scarlet Knights kept just one clean sheet, conceding 12 goals in a mediocre 4-4-1 start to their campaign.
PISCATAWAY — On the biggest stage of his career, Jason Wright stepped up and delivered.In front of a national television audience on the Big Ten Network, the sophomore forward scored his Big Ten-leading 13th goal of the season to push the Rutgers men’s soccer team to a 1-0 win over No. 18 Ohio State and isolate his team atop the Big Ten standings for the first time in program history.After finishing a strong sequence of passing between junior midfielder Erik Sa, sophomore forward Miles Hackett and himself to ensure his team’s sixth straight win, Wright ran toward the corner flag in euphoria before being ambushed by his teammates as they commemorated what might end up being the most important goal of the season.With the stakes high and all eyes in the conference on the match, Wright took it all in and embraced the moment.“These games are what every player lives for,” Wright said.
When all was said and done in the 2014 season, the Rutgers men’s soccer team finished its inaugural season in the nine team Big Ten Conference in eighth place with a pitiful four points, its only win coming against a winless Wisconsin that finished in dead last.Taking the Scarlet Knights’ less than stellar season into consideration, the preseason Big Ten coaches poll predicted another eighth place finish for Dan Donigan’s troops as they adapted to one of the premier conferences in college soccer.But the sixth-year head coach isn’t one to take preseason polls into consideration.“I don’t even know why we do those preseason polls to be honest, because nobody really knows how good or how average any particular team is going to be,” Donigan said.
Just under 20 minutes into the Rutgers men’s soccer team’s matchup with Army, junior goalkeeper David Greczek collected a weak shot from the Black Knights and spotted a sight he was all too familiar with — sophomore forward Jason Wright calling for the ball downfield.Greczek punted the ball in Wright’s direction.
Rinse and repeat.After moving into a tie atop the Big Ten standings as a result of its exhilarating 4-2 win over Northwestern Friday night, the Rutgers men’s soccer team will take yet another break from conference play for a midweek matchup with a non-conference foe.The Scarlet Knights (8-4-1, 3-3-0) will play their fourth Tuesday night non-conference game in as many weeks tonight as they travel to West Point to face Army.Owning a four-game winning streak and leading a Power Five conference has the spirits in the Knights camp high but they won’t allow themselves to underestimate their next opponent.“I expect the same result as we’ve gotten the last four games.
Just as stats don’t tell the whole story, results aren’t completely indicative of a team’s performance.Despite earning a win in each of its last three matches — the longest winning streak of the season — the Rutgers men’s soccer team has not played up to par on the pitch as of late.In their latest outing, the Scarlet Knights (7-4-1, 2-3-0) struggled against a Penn team that failed to score in 6 of 10 contests this season.
If scoring goals is wrong, Jason doesn’t want to be Wright.Sophomore forward Jason Wright continued his phenomenal form Tuesday night in Philadelphia when he sealed the Rutgers men’s soccer team’s 2-0 win against Penn with a goal a minute before the final whistle blew.The Kingston, Jamaica, native received the ball in acres of space and ran towards the Quakers goal, rounded Penn substitute goalkeeper Etan Mobourahk and slid the ball into the empty net for his seventh goal in his past five matches.The goal was a cherry on top of a big day for Wright.
When a chance to do something new presents itself, it must be taken advantage of.The Rutgers men’s soccer team looks to take advantage of an opportunity to extend its current winning streak to three games for the first time this season when they travel to the City of Brotherly Love to face Penn Tuesday afternoon.The Scarlet Knights’ (6-4-1, 2-3-0) current winning streak began last week in another midweek matchup with an Ivy League program. The Knights defeated Yale 5-2 at Yurcak Field, conceding both goals when they had a three-goal cushion to work with.The Bulldogs presented little danger in turning the result around, but the relaxed way in which Rutgers defended with a big lead raised some red flags for the coaching staff and they let the players on the field know.Aware that letting up for even a second on the pitch is unacceptable, the Knights aspire to improve the way they approach the game mentally.“I think that’s really hard to do when you go up by more than a few goals,” said senior midfielder Mitchell Taintor on remaining completely focused with a large lead.
Home-field advantage is immeasurable. Playing on a familiar field in front of cheering fans provides teams with an extra boost of energy to push through difficult stretches of games.The Rutgers men’s soccer team doesn’t appear to believe in home-field advantage.The Scarlet Knights (6-4-1, 2-3-0) improved to 2-0 against conference opponents on the road after handing Big Ten leader Michigan its first conference loss of the season in extra time Saturday morning in Ann Arbor.Sophomore forward Jason Wright scored the only goal of the contest against the Wolverines (5-3-3, 2-1-2) three minutes into extra-time to bring the Knights within two points of the conference lead.
For the second weekend in a row, the Rutgers men’s soccer team will face a top-flight Big Ten opponent after crushing a non-conference foe.The Scarlet Knights (5-4-1, 1-3-0) travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan this Saturday after blowing past Yale midweek.Michigan and Rutgers have been having extremely different seasons thus far.The Wolverines (5-3-2, 2-0-2) currently lead the Big Ten Conference with eight points in four games.
When facing non-conference opposition, many Power Five conference teams underestimate their opponents, leading to surprising upsets that shock the nation.While it did seem to underestimate its visitors at times Tuesday night, the Rutgers men’s soccer team did not let itself get upset.A hat-trick from sophomore forward Jason Wright and two goals from senior forward JP Correa propelled the Scarlet Knights (5-4-1, 1-3-0) to a 5-2 win over Yale (1-8, 0-1) to improve to 4-1-1 against non-conference opponents this season.While satisfied with the win, head coach Dan Donigan showed frustration in the complacency his team showed throughout the match.
The Rutgers men’s soccer team may feel a sense of déjà vu in the near future.For the second week in a row, the Scarlet Knights (4-4-1, 1-3-1) host a struggling non-conference opponent in the middle of the week after suffering a Big Ten Conference loss over the weekend. The Knights host Ivy League bottom feeder Yale on Tuesday night after suffering a 2-0 loss to conference rival Penn State (5-2-3, 2-1-1) in rather abnormal conditions on Saturday.With a little over four minutes remaining until the start of the second half between Rutgers and the Nittany Lions, a power outage that affected all of Busch campus, where Yurcak Field is located, caused the field to go black as the lights turned off.