No. 24 Rutgers men’s soccer went on the road to face No. 8 Maryland (7-1-1) on Tuesday night in a nationally televised game shown on the Big Ten Network. The result was a scoreless draw as goalkeeper Oren Asher delivered his sixth shutout of the season in making seven saves. The Scarlet Knights earned the program’s first point against a top ten team since battling then No. 4 Indiana to a scoreless draw in 2016.
It was a gutty effort for RU after both captain Pablo Avila and Vince Borden left the game due to injuries. Avila exited in the 33rd minute and Borden, who had played every minute on defense this season to that point, did not return after halftime.
Early in the second half, the Scarlet Knights put pressure on the Terps with Ola Maeland and Ritchie Barry having scoring opportunities thwarted.
NIKLAS!— Maryland Men’s Soccer (@MarylandMSoccer) September 29, 2021
What a stop to keep it scoreless. pic.twitter.com/M87av8H9Pw
Rutgers almost won the game in the 84th minute when Jackson Temple broke into the box off a pass from Jason Bouregy and his shot went off the right post, just missing on the game winning goal.
Post is literally a four-letter word pic.twitter.com/nr0FCqdsNh— Rutgers Men's Soccer (@RUMensSoccer) September 29, 2021
Soon after, Asher made two huge saves inside the box back to back to preserve the tie. The game ultimately went to extra time.
Asher x2 keeps us scoreless! pic.twitter.com/B65NRouC6B— Rutgers Men's Soccer (@RUMensSoccer) September 29, 2021
Temple had a second opportunity in overtime to score off another pass from Bouregy but was stopped by Terps goalkeeper Niklas Neumann.
Game saver.— Maryland Men’s Soccer (@MarylandMSoccer) September 29, 2021
Neumann makes a great save late in the first OT. pic.twitter.com/hV2yFV5Avy
Maryland held a 14-9 advantage with shots and a 7-3 edge with shots on goal. Rutgers did hold a 7-3 advantage on corner kicks. There were 1,500 fans in attendance at Ludwig Field.
Asher is now tied for second for most shutouts in the nation this season with six. His goals against average is now 0.42 and RU’s only loss this fall came last week when he missed the Wisconsin game due to a non-Covid related illness. The Scarlet Knights dropped the contest 2-0 for their first loss of the season.
“We played fantastic tonight in a really tough place to play,” head coach Jim McElderry said to WRSU and The Daily Targum beat reporter Chris Tsakonas following the contest. “Maryland is an excellent team. We had some opportunities that didn’t go our way, and we had some injuries. It would have been easy to not be up for the challenge, but I was proud of the group that stepped up and made a big impact.”
The Scarlet Knights (7-1-2; 1-1-1) are currently tied with Wisconsin for third place with 4 points, trailing Maryland (7 points) and Indiana (6 points).
After a hard fought road game against a top ten team, Rutgers will have the weekend off before hosting Penn State (5-3-1; 1-0-0) at Yurcak Field on Tuesday, October 5 at 7 p.m. for a nationally televised contest on the Big Ten Network.