Rutgers shut out in final match of season against Columbia
In its regular season finale, the Rutgers men’s soccer team ended its second straight embarrassing season with yet another loss.
The Scarlet Knights (4-12-1, 0-8-0) couldn’t get over the hump once again on Wednesday night, losing 2-0 to Columbia (7-2-3, 2-1-1) at Yurcak Field. Rutgers failed to gain any momentum in both the match and for the upcoming weeks, as the Big Ten Tournament barrels its way down the schedule.
The worst stat of the game for the Knights may not have been the score, but instead, the shot differential between the two squads.
“I think we sat too deep tonight defensively and that didn’t help us get numbers in the attack to create opportunities offensively,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “Creating chances is really what the game is all about, you’ve got to create chances to score goals to win games.”
Rutgers took just two shots all game, unable to get anything going on offense as just one of those shots were on goal. The Lions showed a completely different side of soccer, taking 19 shots, with 11 on goal.
Columbia started the game off with the first shot of the game coming in the ninth minute, which was saved by junior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira. The shot was shortly followed by one from senior midfielder Erik Sa, which was saved by Lions goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira.
In the 29th minute, Columbia midfielder John Denis scored the first goal of the match, a free kick from the outside top right.
“I think we started off the right way, we knew we were playing a good team,” Pereira said. “On an unfortunate call in my opinion, on an exemplary free kick, they came up with a goal to make it 1-0.”
The Knights couldn’t really get much going until freshman defender Vincent Borden took the second and final shot of the game for Rutgers, which went wide left and ended the regular season’s shot count.
Heading into halftime, the Lions led the Knights 1-0 after outshooting them 6-2 in the first half, a small showing of what was to come in the second.
Columbia outshot Rutgers 13-0 in the second half, yet somehow managed to just score 1 goal in that span. In the 73rd minute, Lions forward Arthur Bosua scored the second goal of the game and gave Columbia its 2-0 final score.
“In the second half, our coaches told us to change our formation, that we’ve got to go after them and be more offensive,” Pereira said. “I think we did that at certain points of the game, but because of that (im)balance, they came up with another goal on a fast break off a scramble inside the box.”
Although though the team fell in the end, the Knights got a stellar performance from Pereira, who recorded a season-high nine saves. Pereira ended the season with 91 saves to 46 goals allowed over the 17-match season, his first with Rutgers and in Division I soccer.
Sa and senior forward Ryan Peterson led the Knights in goals and points this season, with 3 and 7 respectively, while also being part of the seven-way tie for second in assists with one.
Senior forward Dante Perez and freshman midfielder Kyle Galloway end the season with two assists apiece, taking first place in the Rutgers set up game.
With the regular season behind them, the Knights have an opportunity to erase their winless conference record with the upcoming Big Ten Tournament on the horizon.
“We’ve still got the postseason tournament,” Pereira said. “Either way we want revenge against Penn State and Northwestern."
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