Dream Season Ends in ‘Elite Eight’ for Men’s Soccer
An incredible and remarkable dream 2016 season came to an end Sunday for the Rutgers University-Newark men's soccer team as the Scarlet Raiders were defeated 4-2 by Brandeis University in the 'Elite Eight' of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship.
Rutgers-Newark ends its season with a record of 21-4-0, setting a new program wins record and winning more contests in the NCAA Tournament than any team before in the history of Scarlet Raider athletics.
"Our boys had a fantastic season," said Head Coach Kevin East after the game. "I am extremely proud of them and everything we were able to accomplish this year."
Brandeis improves to 13-5-4 and will play in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in Salem, Va. December 2.
The Scarlet Raiders were able to withstand several early runs and corners from Brandeis, but the Judges scored a pair of markers just 59 seconds apart at 22:41 and 23:40 of the first half to open a 2-0 lead. Both scores came from senior forward Mike Lynch, the first on an assist from Evan Jastremski and the second on the back of a helper from senior midfielder Josh Ocel.
Rutgers-Newark was able to slow the Brandeis momentum with some solid play in the latter stages of the first half, generating a trio of corner kicks and several quality shots, the best coming off the head of sophomore back Brandon Goldy.
R-N sliced the Brandeis lead in half at 40:36, getting a goal from junior midfielder Alex Torres and an assist from sophomore forward Timothy Farias. Junior back Isaiah Kuris – playing up because of a set piece – won a loose ball before passing to Farias just outside the top-right corner of the 18-yard box. Farias then lofted a soft touch pass to a cutting Torres who headed in his shot for his seventh goal of the season. Farias was credited with his second assist on the play, and the Scarlet Raiders were able to take some momentum into the halftime intermission.
After Brandeis controlled the ball and field position for much of the opening 45, the second half began with each side playing well. Unfortunately for Rutgers-Newark, the Judges scored their all-important third goal to go back up two with 23:50 on the clock as Joshua Handler tallied on the back end of a set piece.
The Brandeis lead move to three goals 1:56 later, when Ocel found the back of the net to make it a 4-1 game with just 21:56 remaining in the match.
From that point, Brandeis was able to focus on defense, making things tough for the Scarlet Raiders who never quit, and fought within two goals when senior Sebastian Gostynski buried a penalty kick at 80:22. The score was the 12th of the season for Gostynski who was taken down in the box when making a move towards the goal.
Brandeis ended the match with a 14-7 margin in shots, a 9-5 advantage in shots on goal and a 7-4 edge in corner kicks.
"Congratulations to Brandeis, they started the game very strong and made things difficult for us," said East. "Toward the end of the first half we began to settle down and build some momentum which I thought carried us through most of the second, but unfortunately, that third goal was the difference. The field surface definitely made it difficult to play the way we prefer, but we will learn a lesson and work hard this offseason to give it another shot in 2017."
Scarlet Raider freshman goalkeeper Andres Medina made five saves in the loss, while Brandeis keeper Ben Woodhouse made three denials.
Rutgers-Newark was making its third trip to the national tournament in the last four years, soaring by the previous program-record for wins in the regular-season. The Scarlet Raiders tallied three victories in the national tournament before running into Brandeis Sunday, and they now have a record of 4-3-0 in national tournament games.
"I would like to thank all of our seniors for their outstanding leadership this year," added East. "They have set a standard of success that all of our underclassmen should strive for."
Scarlet Raider men's soccer fans should continue to check www.rutgersnewarkathletics.com over the next several weeks for announcements regarding postseason awards. Fans can also follow @ScarletRaiders on twitter for the latest on everything Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders.