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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.
With one more regular season game to go before the Big Ten Tournament, the Rutgers women’s soccer team is remaining focused on the task at hand for the week — finishing the season strong at Iowa.The No. 9 Scarlet Knights (13-2-2, 6-2-2) are playing their best soccer of the season, picking up crucial conference victories over ranked foes in then-No. 9 Penn State and then-No. 19 Minnesota.They have put themselves in position to host a Big Ten Tournament game at home after their recent string of strong play has them tied with Michigan for third in the conference with 20 points.They also just completed their third unbeaten season at home in school history, posting a 9-0-1 record at Yurcak Field.Rutgers would love to be able to host a conference tournament game at home, but understands that it cannot overlook a Hawkeyes team (7-9-1, 1-8-1) that has beaten Illinois this season, one of the two teams to hand the Knights a loss this fall.“Winning at home this year was very important to us and one of the biggest goals set out by the team at the start of the season,” said head coach Mike O’Neill.
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.
PISCATAWAY — The final home game of the season held big implications for the Rutgers women’s soccer team.Entering Friday's game against Minnesota tied for third in the conference with 17 points and knowing the top four seeds in the conference earn a home game for the Big Ten Tournament, the No. 12 Scarlet Knights knew how crucial it was to pick up some points.By defeating the No. 19 Golden Gophers (11-4-3, 6-3-1) by a score of 3-1, Rutgers did just that, showing offensive firepower to go along with its typical stout defense.The Knights (13-2-2, 6-2-2) became only the third team in school history to finish unbeaten at home during the regular season, an enormous accomplishment for a team that has emphasized the importance of winning at home since the start of the year.“A game like this shows a lot about this team’s character,” said head coach Mike O’Neill.
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.
Over the course of a season, teams hope to see progression from younger players that shows all the hard work and training pay off.It can take a while for younger college athletes to truly come into their own, as they deal with experiences such as living away from home on top of getting comfortable with new coaches and teammates.For the No. 12 Rutgers women’s soccer team, the growth of some key newcomers has been pivotal in winning matches down the stretch of the season.The Scarlet Knights (12-2-2, 5-2-2) are coming off their biggest win of the year against then-No. 9 Penn State, with sophomore forward Colby Ciarrocca scoring the game-winning goal in the 1-0 victory.She also scored a late goal to seal the team's 2-0 victory over Ohio State last week.Ciarrocca leads the team with six goals and her emergence as an offensive force has been crucial to the Knights’ success.“Colby has the great ability to score goals at the times when we need them,” said head coach Mike O’Neill.
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.
The structure of any team or organization tends to put great responsibilities on the veterans who have been there the longest.With new classes of athletes coming in each year in college sports, it is crucial to have leaders who can help usher in the new wave of teammates and show them the way on and off the field.This is precisely what the senior class of the Rutgers women’s soccer team has been able to do this season.The No. 12 Scarlet Knights (12-2-2, 5-2-2) are in the midst of another successful season under head coach Mike O’Neill, coming off a 1-0 Senior Day win over No. 9 Penn State.O'Neill is proud of the depth his team is able to display in each match, but knows it all starts with his senior leaders.“When I think of this senior class, I think of character, talent, accountability and family.
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.
PISCATAWAY — One year after the Rutgers women's soccer team announced its entrance to the Big Ten with an upset of then-No.
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.
The No. 25 Rutgers women’s soccer team kicks off its final home stand of the season on Thursday night.That all starts with a 7 p.m.
If Rutgers continues to play the way it has been lately, senior defender Brianne Reed believes her team will be in good shape.
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.
Soccer can be a frustrating game.Over the course of a 90-minute match, there are moments where a team can be dominating the pace of play, making key passes and creating prime scoring opportunities.But things can get tense when those chances are not converted into goals.The No.
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.