The Rutgers men’s soccer team opened Big Ten play on Friday night with a massive statement victory. The Scarlet Knights defeated No. 11 Indiana (3-2-1; 0-1-0) on the road in come from behind fashion for the 2-1 victory. It was the first ranked win for the program since 2015 when they beat No. 18 Ohio State. The Hoosiers are the defending Big Ten champions and lost in the NCAA Tournament championship game last spring. Friday’s triumph marks the biggest victory of Jim McElderry’s tenure through two-plus seasons at Rutgers so far.
Daniel Munie scored his second goal of the season to put Indiana ahead 1-0 in the 23rd minute of the game. Despite the deficit at the half, Rutgers were playing the Hoosiers tough as both teams had 3 shots and a 2-1 edge in corner kicks.
The game could have changed completely after halftime if Rutgers junior goalkeeper Oren Asher hand’t made a brilliant save in the 53rd minute to keep the score at 1-0.
The Scarlet Knights regrouped as senior Ritchie Barry found Nico Rosamilia at the top of the box. The freshman, who scored twice in the win over St. Joseph’s on Monday, delivered again in firing his shot through multiple defenders that was ultimately deflected into the back of the net. The game was now tied in the 58th minute. It was the first goal that RU scored against the Hoosiers in six years.
With the score knotted 1-1, Rutgers shocked the home team and the rest of the Big Ten with a beautiful sliding volley from junior Jackson Temple that gave McElderry’s club the unexpected lead in the 70th minute. Sophomore Ola Maeland had the assist on the goal.
The defense held firm as the Hoosiers rattled off back to back shots in the 85th minute, but Asher made his second save of the game to preserve the upset win for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers held a 9-8 edge in shots in the game and 4-3 in shots on goal while IU held a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.
While McElderry played 16 players on Friday night, the entire back line of the defense in Vincent Borden, Thomas DeVizio and Joey Zalinksy, as well as midfielder Pablo Avila and Asher played all 90 minutes in the victory.
The Scarlet Knights remain unbeaten to start the 2021 season with a 6-0-1 record. Beating a national power like Indiana on their home field to begin Big Ten play should give McElderry’s team plenty of confidence the rest of the way this fall. The Hoosiers have won the last three Big Ten regular season titles, have lost just two conference games total over the past five plus seasons coming into this game and have captured the Big Ten Tournament title five times in a row.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of Rutgers’ victory in Bloomington. It’s critical that RU is able to build off this performance in hopes of making the program’s first NCAA Tournament since 2015. The Scarlet Knights returns home to Yurcak Field on Monday, September 20 for a match against Penn at 7 p.m. ET airing on Big Ten Plus.