PISCATAWAY, N.J. (October 18, 2014) – It was defensive battle for both teams for much of the night, as No. 19 Northwestern used two second half goals to exit Yurack Field with a 2-0 win over the Rutgers men’s soccer on Saturday night.
Rutgers, facing its fourth ranked opponent of the season in Big Ten play, fell to 4-8-1 overall and 1-4-1 in the league. Northwestern improved to 7-2-4 on the season and 2-1-2 in the Big Ten.
The scoreless stalemate broke in the 59th minute with Northwestern’s Drew Rosenberg making a pass across the front of the Rutgers goal, where Cole Missimo punched the ball in from the right post, for his team-leading fifth score of the year.
The Wildcats added in their second goal in the 82nd minute. Grant Wilson served the ball to the front of the Scarlet Knight net where Nikko Boxall took a header that hit the crossbar. Mike Roberge collected the rebound and fired into the back of the RU net for his first goal of the season.
The Scarlet Knights ended the night outshooting the Wildcats, 9-7, including a 6-2 advantage in the first half.
Redshirt freshman Jack Young (Saddle River, N.J.) had Rutgers’ lone shot on net of the night early in the contest. Young evaded the Northwestern defense at the right corner of the 18, however his shot was saved by Tyler Miller in the 18th minute. For Miller, who ranks 12th in the country in save percentage, it would be his only stop of the evening.
Ten minutes later, as the Scarlet Knights moved the ball around the front the Wildcat net, sophomore Erik Sa (Watchung, N.J.) was able to get an open look, but his attempt went high over the NU goal.
RU also had several chances as the clock wound to zero in the first half. Freshman Miles Hackett (Montclair, N.J.) made several attempts to make a cross from the left post and eventually had a shot block and a free kick by Mitchell Taintor (Storrs, Conn.) sailed wide right of the net. The Scarlet Knights also got off a corner in the closing seconds, but a Dante Perez (East Windsor, N.J.) header also landed wide right.
After the Wildcats went up 1-0, the Scarlet Knights had a chance at an equalizer in the 76th minute of action. Sa played the ball into Wildcat territory to RU leading scorer Jason Wright (Kingston, Jamaica). The play drew out Miller out of goal allowing Wright to shoot over the defense and the keeper from 30 yards out, but his shot went just wide right of the net.
Sophomore Mitchell Walier (Holmdel, N.J.) garnered his second straight start and finished with a pair of saves. He came up with a huge stop in the game’s 53rd minute when NU’s Sam Forsgren played the ball off a defensive miscue and fired off to the left corner, but was thwarted by a diving Walier.
“I think Northwestern is a good team and I don’t want to take credit away from them, but it was a pretty competitive match” said head coach Dan Donigan. “We’ll continue to work and move forward. There’s not a big difference between us and some of these teams. It’s the little details of the game that lead to opportunities for our opponents. We have to continue to key in and focus in on those finer details for us to get better and ultimately win these games.”
The Rutgers men’s soccer team returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 21 against Army in nonconference play at Yurcak Field at 7 p.m. The first 500 fans can receive a free USA “R” magnet.
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