Rutgers gets 1st Big Ten win since 2015 before hosting Drexel

A change of halves can make all the difference for a team. After Ohio State jumped onto a 2-goal lead heading into the halftime locker rooms, the Rutgers men's soccer team clawed its way back with 2 goals to force the match into overtime. 

Junior forward Jordan Hall scored a golden goal in that overtime, as the Scarlet Knights (2-6-1, 1-3-0) defeated the Buckeyes (1-7-2, 0-3-1), 3-2.

Ohio State put the first points on the scoreboard in the 16th minute, with forward Devyn Etling capturing his 2nd goal of the season off a one-touch pass. Midfielder Jack Holland would add to the Buckeyes’ lead in the 35th minute, scoring his first career goal. 

Etling had another opportunity for his 2nd goal of the match in the 41st minute. The forward broke through three defenders, but the ball sailed out of bounds.

After managing only two shots in the first 45 minutes, Rutgers started the second half aggressively. Hall cut Ohio State’s 2-goal lead in half in the 61st minute. Fifth-year senior forward Miles Hackett made a one-touch pass to Hall, who tapped the ball past Buckeye goalkeeper Parker Siegfried. 

With the help of substitutes, the Knights would find the back of the net a short 43 seconds after Hall’s goal. 

After his leaping header off a cross from fifth-year senior forward Kyle Goodwin was blocked by Siegfried, sophomore forward Miles Franklyn sank a rebounded shot into the back of the net. Franklyn finished the match with two shots, each of them on-goal.

Franklyn and Goodwin were some players that sparked the comeback in the second half. Head coach Dan Donigan rotated in several players, including sophomore forward Brendan Wall, who finished with a shot. 

Freshman midfielder Nick Cruz started his second consecutive match on the day. The Monroe, N.J. native had the Knights’ first shot of the match in the third minute. Cruz also set up numerous transition plays in the second half.

Hall’s golden goal came off a feed from freshman defender Thomas DeVizio, from 18 yards out. The game-winning goal ties him with the most in the Big Ten (6) and on the team this season. DeVizio picked up his first assist of his career after starting all nine matches for Rutgers this season.

“We got chewed out at halftime. First half was unacceptable,” Hall said on what changed between the two halves. “The couple of goals (were) in quick succession that kicked us off.”

The Knights finished the match with a plus-one advantage on shots on-goal. They held Ohio State shotless in overtime, a result of the tight defense Rutgers played in the last two periods.

Senior goalkeeper Rafael Pereira finished the match with four saves, the same as his Buckeye counterpart. The Lisbon, Portugal native made a big save in the final minutes of the second half. Ohio State midfielder Brady Blackwell had a chance off a restart, but was blocked by Pereira. 

“I’m really pleased with the guys, that they were able to find it within themselves to fight back,” Donigan said. “I thought everybody stepped up and played fantastic in the second half.”

The win was the Knights’ first Big Ten victory since October of 2015.

Rutgers will take a break from conference play this week, as the team returns to Yurcak Field for a match against Drexel tonight. 

The Dragons (6-2-2, 1-2-1) drew a scoreless match against Charleston last time out. But, Drexel outshot its opponent 16-11 and had plenty of offensive opportunities. 

The Dragons are still searching for a goal on their three-game road trip, which comes to a close on the Banks, tonight. They were shutout 1-0 against Hofstra last week. 

Despite its recent losses, Drexel has dominated the CAA conference leaderboard. Goalkeeper Stephen Kopsachilis leads the conference with 38 total saves, averaging 4.75 per match. 

The freshman has started eight matches this season, bolstering a 4-2-2 record. Norwegian midfielder Mathias Ebbesen leads the CAA in shots, averaging more than three per match. The senior leads the Dragons with a team-high 7 goals and 15 points. 

“We’ve had a lot of tough matches in the Big Ten conference,” Donigan said. “To get the three points on the road says a lot about (our) group.”

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

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