September 19, 2019 | 52° F

Rutgers drops overtime contest to Canisius

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

The Rutgers men’s soccer team played its second straight game at Yurcak Field on Tuesday night, but unfortunately saw a similar result as it did last weekend.

The Scarlet Knights (1-6-1, 0-3-0) took on Canisius (6-1-0, 0-0-0) in Piscataway, in what was surely a nail-biter. After being tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, the Griffins scored a fast break goal in the opening overtime period to secure a 2-1 victory.

“We are really just disappointed and sad,” said junior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira. “It was definitely our fault and these are the types of games we have to win no matter what.”

The game kicked off at 7 p.m. with the high wind from Hurricane Jose coming in off the East Coast. The sky was dark and gloomy early on, with the winds blowing erratically through the duration of the night.

Both teams took some time to get adjusted to the playing conditions, with Canisius forward Filippo Tamburini taking the game’s first shot in the eighth minute of play. Pereira blocked the initial shot and then dove onto the ball for the save.

“We came out flat, we came out like we didn’t want to play,” said senior midfielder Erik Sa. “When you come into a game unfocused or maybe looking ahead, you’re going to make mistakes and we did that and it cost us.”

A shot from Griffins forward Troy Brady was blocked in the 20th minute, leading to a fast break down the field that translated into a shot from senior defender Niel Guzman. Guzman’s shot was saved by Canisius goalkeeper Marco Trivellato.

Pereira saved his second shot of the game in the 29th minute, off the foot of Griffins' midfielder Manuelle Cavazzoli. Cavazzoli received a yellow card two minutes later, leading to a substitution from the Canisius head coach.

In an almost nature influenced event, just as some light rain began to fall, Griffin forward Hunter Walsh followed an outlet pass towards the goalie box and went one on one with Pereira, ultimately scoring and giving Canisius a 1-0 lead.

“We are just incredibly frustrated because sometimes the truth hurts,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “When you can’t do simple things in crucial moments of the game, when you are in overtime and up a man and everything was on our side going into it, the truth hurts.”

Sa tried to retaliate almost immediately, bring the ball down the field and take another shot for Rutgers, which too high and fell on top of the net.

Pereira saved another two shots from Walsh, including one that came after an overhaul of substitutions for the Knights, in which they swapped out three players at once. One last shot attempt by the Griffins was blocked in the midst of some heavy rain coming in from the Hurricane.

Rutgers and Canisius hurried into the locker rooms at halftime with rain coming down and the scoreboard fixed at 1-0 in favor of the Griffins.

True freshman defender Vincent Borden got the first shot attempt of the second half in for the Knights, going wide left and out of bounds. Two consecutive shots from the Griffins in the 54th and 55th minutes were blocked and saved by Pereira, respectively.

After a shot by junior forward Miles Hackett was blocked, Sa was fouled inside the box by Canisius defender Alex Grattarola and was awarded a penalty kick. Sa scored the goal and Grattarola was given a red card, making the 61st minute a crucial one in the game for Rutgers.

From the 61st minute until the end of regulation, the Knights and Griffins combined for 11 shots, with Rutgers providing eight strong shots in an effort to take a lead and win. Both teams couldn’t find the net again, resulting in overtime periods.

After some back and forth in the overtime period, Brady got away from the Knights defense and ran off on a fast break. Brady popped the ball above Pereira and scored the golden goal for the Griffins, giving them the 2-1 victory.

“We have ourselves to blame. There are no other excuses, no other rationale, nothing specific we need to work on moving forward. It’s simply guys making plays and good decisions and being smart about how they approach the game,” Donigan said.

For updates on the Rutgers men's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Coby Green

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