BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. - The Rutgers men's soccer team made it four in a row with a 4-2 victory over Northwestern Friday night at Toyota Park.
The Scarlet Knights established a 3-0 lead before Northwestern scored twice within a five-minute span to drop Rutgers down to a 3-2 edge with just over 21 minutes to play. A minute after the Wildcats sliced their deficit to one, Jason Wright (Kingston, Jamaica) captured his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
Goalkeeper David Greczek (Fairfield, N.J.) came up with five critical saves for Rutgers, including stopping a Wildcat PK in the 20th minute after RU had already generated a 1-0 lead.
The victory improved RU to 8-4-1 overall and 3-3-0 in the Big Ten in its fourth-straight win. The Scarlet Knights are currently riding their longest win streak since 2011. Northwestern, meanwhile, dropped to 5-6-1 on the year 2-3-0 in the league.
"Greczek was fantastic tonight. He stopped a PK and several point blank shots in the flow of the game. He really stood on his head tonight," said head coach Dan Donigan. "You don't just walk into Northwestern and score four goals. They don't give up goals at home very easily. While both of those goals we gave up were avoidable, we generated enough on offense tonight. The guys are feeling good about getting another three points on the road and are ready to feed off this win heading into our next upcoming games."
Rutgers was out in front 2-0 by halftime.
For the second-straight game the combo of a Mitch Lurie (Atlanta, Ga.) corner kick and Drew Morgan (Atlanta, Ga.) header put the Scarlet Knights on the scoreboard. Morgan's goal, his second of the season, gave RU a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.
Greczek helped to preserve the Scarlet Knight edge after stopping a potential equalizer. The junior Scarlet Knight stopped a penalty kick awarded to Joey Calistri in the 20th minute.
Freshman Brian Hawkins (Chesterfield, N.J.) added in the game's second score in the 26th minute. Hawkins scored off rebound followed a saved shot by Wright on right side of box.
Greczek had another big save in the closing minute of the opening stanza. He stopped a one-on-one with the Wildcats' Jeffrey Hopson to keep RU up by two heading into the intermission.
RU went up 3-0 in the 60th minute as sophomore Miles Hackett (Montclair, N.J.) captured what would be the game-winner from 20-yards out at the top of the circle following a feed from senior Mitchell Taintor (Storrs, Conn.).
Within minutes thought, RU's three-goal advantage was reduced to one.
Countering off a Scarlet Knight corner, Northwestern's Cole Missimo flicked in the ball from the left of the box the 64th minute, while in the 69th minute the Wildcats Elo Ozumba got into the RU goal from the ride side.
With Rutgers now holding on to a 3-2 lead, the Scarlet Knights' leading scorer responded less than a minute later to put away an insurance goal. Senior Tyler Morris (Montclair, N.J.) set up Wright, this week's NSCAA and Big Ten Player of the Week, to get past two Wildcat defenders and find the gap from the left side of the 18.
Greczek added three more stops in the second half to end the night with five saves. Zak Allen made five saves as well for the Wildcats as the Scarlet Knights outshot their opponent, 15-13.
The Rutgers men’s soccer team closes out its current four-game road trip with a contest at Army West Point on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.
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