Rutgers falls short to No. 2 Indiana on senior night

After the seven seniors were recognized for their leadership prior to kickoff, the Rutgers men’s soccer team managed to hold nationally-ranked Indiana to a scoreless 84 minutes on Friday evening. 

Midfielder Trevor Swartz scored the match’s only goal in the 84th minute, that would give the No. 2 Hoosiers (13-2, 6-0) a 1-0 win over the Scarlet Knights (4-10-1, 2-5) in their annual senior night game. 

Rutgers played a very defensive first half. As its opponent bolstered a 13-3 shots advantage at halftime, the Knights were able to crowd the box and make several clears. 

Senior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira was among those honored prior to kickoff against last year’s national runner-ups.

The netminder captain totaled nine saves, which tied a career high, and was eight more than his Indiana counterpart Trey Muse. He also became the Big Ten’s save leader with 62 on the season.

“We knew that most of the game we would have to defend well,” Pereira said. “We scared a No. 2 team in the country and that’s a positive.” 

The two teams traded quick offensive transition plays in the 20th minute. Defender Andrew Gutman gained possession and fired a shot at the Rutgers goal, which was stopped by Pereira.

Gutman, forwards Griffin Dorsey and Justin Rennicks all finished with a game-high five shots. Rennicks had three shots on goal, while Dorsey and Gutman had one. 

Several minutes later, fifth-year senior forward Miles Hackett broke through the Hoosiers defensive line and aired a shot above Muse. Hackett finished the match with two shots. 

Indiana got off two shots in a corner kick sequence in the 32nd and 33rd minutes. Swartz’s corner kick attempt reached Dorsey, whose shot was blocked. 

The Knights’ defense continued to stop the majority of the Hoosiers' scoring chances in the second half. 

Sophomore defender Bryce Washington and junior defender Jake Longo played aggressively to stop Indiana's chances. 

Washington had the flu but still managed to start his 11th game of the season. He cleared away several Hoosier second chance opportunities off corner kicks.

Longo made his third consecutive start, playing the majority of the match. He defended his man well and shifted possession away from Indiana. 

Fifth-year senior forward Kyle Goodwin provided several offensive rushes off the bench in his last Yurcak Field match, finishing with one shot. He also defended well in the teams 2-3-3 lineup.

“It comes down to everyone being organized in the back,” Goodwin said. “Bryce and Longo are doing a great job shutting down any good players that are playing up top.”

Gutman, who sits behind junior forward Jordan Hall as the Big Ten’s second top scorer, picked up his sixth assist of the season on Swartz’s goal. Swartz netted a shot past Pereira from 8 yards out, off an endline pass from Gutman. 

Rutgers was outshot 26-7. Hall led the Knights with three shots, including an attempt in the second half, where he got a shot off a restart play.

“We tried tactically to give ourselves a chance. We know how good Indiana is,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “They keep coming at you and threw a lot of numbers at us.”

Hall's three attempts puts him second in the Big Ten with 49 shots, behind Michigan’s Jack Hallahan, who has 52 on the season. 

The Hoosiers were awarded nine corner kicks, while Rutgers was not given any chances from the corner.

In their meetings since the Knights joined the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers has not been able to defeat Indiana on the Banks. The two schools managed a tie in their first conference meeting at Yurcak Field. 

The Knights will conclude their non-conference schedule, as they take on Ivy League school Columbia (6-4-1) Tuesday evening, in Manhattan, before finishing their regular season in State College, Pa. against Big Ten rival Penn State.

The Lions edged conference rival Dartmouth 1-0 in overtime last time out. Midfielder Sebastian Gunbeyi scored the golden goal to give them the win.

Goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira collected his 24th career shutout, making him the all-time leader in that category for Columbia.

"If we can play at a consistent high level night in and night out, we know we can play with anybody in the country," Donigan said.

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

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