Rutgers still searching for 1st Big Ten win of season
After falling short against No. 5 Michigan State this past weekend, the Rutgers men's soccer team — still searching for its first Big Ten win — will be hosting Maryland on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
The Scarlet Knights (1-5-1, 0-2-0) are searching for their first win in nearly a month, when they shut out Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland on Aug. 31. Since then, Rutgers has dropped all its contests except for a 2-2 draw against Hartford several weeks ago, in double overtime.
But, the Knights were not a hopeless cause in East Lansing, Mich. last weekend.
They did not give up a goal until the 64th minute in the second half, when the Spartans’s forward Ryan Sierakowski converted on a penalty kick, issued because of a handball in the box. He scored 17 minutes later, from eight yards out, off a lead pass.
Junior forward Jordan Hall scored the only goal for Rutgers with 10 minutes left in the match.
Also, with time winding down in the second half, fifth-year senior forward Miles Hackett came off the bench and headed a cross from sophomore defender Bryce Washington into the net. But, the goal was called back because the play was out of bounds.
The Knights played a gritty match against Michigan State, finishing with 17 fouls compared to Michigan State’s seven. In the 65th minute, sophomore midfielder Vincenzo Pugliese was issued a yellow card.
The Terrapins (2-3-2, 1-1-0) come to Yurcak Field following a close 2-1 double overtime loss to Wisconsin, last Friday.
Maryland put early points on the board in the sixth minute, when forward and midfielder Paul Bin scored his first goal of his career on a close shot. Bin finished with three shots, contributing to its 6-0 shot advantage at halftime.
The Badgers would tie the game within the final minutes of the match. After his first shot attempt was saved by Terrapins goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, midfielder Michael Russell II drilled a shot for his first career goal with Wisconsin. In the double overtime period, defender Zach Klancnik headed a shot past St. Clair after his free kick was blocked by the Maryland goalkeeper.
Both the Terrapins and the Badgers played an aggressive match. Wisconsin was issued two yellow cards in the second half, the first disciplinary card following a foul outside of the box. Maryland was called for a yellow card three times in the two overtime periods.
Rutgers’ offense, led by Hall, did a good job pressuring the Spartans in the second half. The offensive opportunities were limited in the first half.
Hall will have to lead more surges in the first half for the team to attack the Terrapins early. Hall leads the Big Ten in average shots per game (2.71) and is quick to break through opposing defenses.
Although he gave up 2 goals against Michigan State, senior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira has played well between the pipes for the Knights. The Lisbon, Portugal native made a game-high three saves in 90 minutes, compared to only one save for Spartans’ goalkeeper Jimmy Hague.
“(Maryland’s) a little different, they’ve lost some key guys from last year," said head coach Dan Donigan. “They’re still a very good team.”
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