Rutgers remains winless after hefty loss to in-state rival NJIT
The Rutgers men’s soccer team lost its 11th game of the season Tuesday night to in-state rival NJIT by a score of 4-0.
From the first whistle to the last whistle, it was all Highlander soccer.
“Give credit to NJIT, they obviously came to play, and unfortunately I honestly don’t feel like my guys had any desire to come out and play tonight for whatever reason,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “So I really don’t have an answer for that, it’s kinda one of the first times I just sensed that the heart and the passion and the desire just wasn’t there.”
Early in the first half, NJIT put most of the pressure on Rutgers until the midway of the half, when both teams were pushing the ball creating opportunities to score.
The Highlanders got on the scoreboard first as a free kick lead to a 1-0 early lead. NJIT’s midfielder Rickardo Oldham shot a free kick right in front of the Knights' goal where junior defender Jonathan Onyeaka headed the ball as it deflected off of freshman forward Rene White.
The ball then landed in senior Victor Kausch’s vicinity, who put the ball past Knights senior goalkeeper David Greczek.
The Highlanders outshot Rutgers in the first half 5-3 as the Knights went into half down for the 11th time this year.
NJIT came out in the second half controlling possession and creating numerous opportunities to get the cushion goal. After two outstanding saves by Greczek, the Highlanders were able to break through and bolster their already 1-0 lead.
In the 66th minute NJIT leading goal scorer Mamadou Guirassy received a cross from teammate Jack Flanagan. From 15 yards out Guirassy shot the moving ball as it was crossing and blasted it past a diving Greczek to give the Highlanders a 2-0 lead.
The Highlanders added goals in the 80th and 88th minute of the contest, showing no mercy for a battered Knights team.
Although Rutgers looked punctured throughout the full 90 minutes, junior midfielder Brandon Tetro explained after the game that his team hasn’t quit and that anything thing is possible once the postseason comes.
“It’s definitely tough, but the guys haven’t quit,” Tetro said. “It’s really not a lack of effort, there’s very few games that we weren’t in (this season). Credit to the guys, we know we’re not done yet and we know no matter what happens these last three games, we still have a postseason game no matter what. Once you get to the playoffs anything can happen, it’s a different game.”
Tuesday night marks the fifth time this season the Knights have allowed at least 4 goals and the seventh time they’ve been shutout.
Rutgers continues play Friday as it visits a tough conference opponent in Penn State.
Though the Knights are winless and struggling to put together anything offensively, Donigan won't give his team a license to quit.
“You hit a point where it’s really, really tough, and it’s really hard and its been very difficult for all of us,” Donigan said. “But you gotta continue to fight and you gotta continue to move on because if you throw in the towel and you quit in a situation like this -- you will fail in life. And that’s my message to my players right now. They can’t quit, they can't bail (and) they can’t have performances like that. Because that will lead to the next failure, and when I say failure not just in soccer, but in life.”
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