Through their opening pair of games, Rutgers Men’s Soccer have faced a tough week. After losing their opener against Loyola of Maryland last Friday by a score of 3-0, they dropped a close one against the University of Maryland Baltimore County 3-2, after taking a 1-0 lead into halftime.
In the season opener against Loyola, Rutgers was outshot by Loyola 14-9 through the game. Jordan Hall, playing in his first game as a Scarlet Knight, led Rutgers with three attempts. A trio of second-half goals from the Greyhounds at Ridley Athletic Complex Friday night led to a shutout against the Scarlet Knights. A corner kick in the 67th minute put it over the line to get the Greyhounds the 1-0 advantage. An insurance goal in the 73rd minute and a third Greyhound goal the 88th minute, finished the scoring for the evening.
Loyola is coming into the 2018 season after an 11-5-1 season last year, which was capped by the schools first-ever Patriot League regular-season title. They graduated only two seniors from that team, and so were considered to be a strong team heading into the 2018 campaign.
As Rutgers head coach Dan Donigan said, “It was a very physical, hard-fought game up until they broke that first goal. I was happy with the fight, effort and work from our guys and give Loyola credit, they are a good team and are tough at home.”
They followed up with the second of three opening games in Maryland against UMBC on Monday. In front of a good-sized crowd, the game scoring began with redshirt junior Brian Hawkins scoring Rutgers’ first goal of the 2018 season in the 33rd minute from a pass by Jordan Hall. After UMBC tied it up at 1-1, Hall scored his first goal for Rutgers to give the Scarlet Knights the lead again.
After UMBC again tied it up, a penalty kick by Big Ten Pre-season honoree Zeno Mazzacuto gave an opportunity for Rutgers to take a late lead, but instead it bounced off the crossbar, keeping the score tied.
UMBC scored to take the lead for the first time in the game two minutes later, which ended the scoring for the game, winning 3-2. Rutgers goalie Raphael Pereira had six saves in the losing effort.
RECAP: #RFutbol edged at UMBC— Rutgers Men's Soccer (@RUMensSoccer) August 28, 2018
Scarlet Knights boasted a 1-0 lead heading into halftime of Monday night's contest, but the Retrievers punched back in the second half handing the Scarlet Knights a 3-2 loss.
>> https://t.co/GNKqxYiSOO pic.twitter.com/TLdItHszK3
Rutgers finishes up their three game road swing on Friday against another Maryland team, Mt. Saint Mary’s before returning home on Sunday for their opener against Elon on September 2.
Both of Rutgers’ two opening opponents remain undefeated on their seasons, both sporting 2-0 records. UMBC opened their season with a 1-0 win over the Temple Owls, while Loyola followed up their win over Rutgers by beating Mt. Saint Mary’s 3-1.
Following their home opener against Elon, Rutgers has one more game at Yurcak Field against Hartford before opening their Big Ten schedule against Michigan at home on September 14.