10th-Ranked Men’s Soccer Marches into NCAA ‘Sweet 16’
For the first time in program history, the Rutgers University-Newark men's soccer team is in the 'Sweet 16' of NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship.
The nationally-ranked No. 10 Scarlet Raiders earned a 2-0 victory over Elizabethtown College Sunday in the tournament's second round, improving to 20-3-0 overall and setting up a third-round matchup with SUNY Oneonta next Saturday, November 19. The site and time of the match will be announced Monday.
"I was happy with our performance today," said Head Coach Kevin East after his team's win. "I thought we were sharper than yesterday with better ball movement and organization. E'Town is a great program with a rich history so we knew it would be a difficult game to win."
Elizabethtown sees its season end with a record of 14-4-2 after advancing to the second round via a 1-0 overtime triumph over Vassar College Saturday night on Alumni Field.
For the second-straight night, Rutgers-Newark scored early, and for the second-straight night juniors Chigozie Atubi and Alex Torres connected. Just 2:36 into the action, Atubi chased down a long pass from senior Dylan Elias in the right corner. Atubi patiently made several moves to create an angle before delivering a pinpoint pass to Torres 10-yards off the left post for his fifth goal of the season.
Unlike their first round win over New England College Saturday, Rutgers-Newark was able to put in an insurance tally and it came in the 15th minute. Freshman Fabio De Sousa scored it with an assist from Atubi as the rookie received a pass, touched several times moving left-to-right across the top of the box and blasted a shot into the left corner. It was his team-high 14th goal of the season, and it appeared that E'Town goalkeeper Ryan Sandell was screened on the play.
Rutgers-Newark played a very strong opening 45, limiting the Blue Jays to one strong sequence in the period, and during that play junior back Isaiah Kuris was able to clear a shot from freshman Noah Patmore off the goal line.
The Blue Jays came out strong in the second, forcing the action and generating several corners, but the guests could not generate many clean looks and the Raiders remained up, 2-0.
Torres broke free for Newark with 32:53 remaining, but Sandell made a nice save on the play to keep his team within two, however time began to become an issue for Elizabethtown.
The Blue Jays were able to maintain possession and field position for chunks of the second half, but they struggled to create open shots as the Rutgers-Newark backline of junior Arek Szoldrowski, sophomore Brandon Goldy, junior Isaiah Kuris and senior Dylan Elias was impenetrable. That group, along with midfielders Breno Lustosa and Carlos Castro, did an excellent job throughout the entire match.
Freshman goalkeeper Andres Medina and the rest of his defensive mates recorded R-N's 13th shutout of the season as the Scarlet Raiders did not allow a single goal in 180 minutes of action in their two NCAA Tournament matches. Medina made three saves in the victory and gutted out the final 20 minutes of action after a collision in the box midway through the second half.
"Being up 2-0, we just focused on locking things up and letting them come to us," added East. "We are all looking forward to next weekend and will use the week to improve."
Elizabethtown ended the match with a 13-9 margin in shots and a 9-3 edge in corners. Each side put four shots on target.
Rutgers-Newark is now 3-2-0 in NCAA Tournament play as a program. The Scarlet Raiders made the first round in 2013, the second round in 2014 and are playing in the third round this year as one of just 16 schools in the nation left standing.
Fans should follow @ScarletRaiders on twitter for news on next weekend's 'Sweet 16' and the information will be posted to www.rutgersnewarkathletics.com as soon as possible Monday.