PISCATAWAY, NJ - The Rutgers men’s soccer team lost its third match of the season on Sunday, falling to St. Mary’s (CA), 2-1, in the final game of the Philips/adidas Rutgers Soccer Classic at Yurcak Field. With the defeat, Rutgers (6-3) finished third in the tournament, while St. John’s captured the title with victories over St. Mary’s and San Diego State. With the victory, St. Mary’s took second place in the tournament.
Rutgers dominated play in regulation, out-shooting St. Mary’s 27-6, but could not score on several chances, highlighted by a Chris Karcz (Clifton, NJ) shot from the top of the box that bounced off the cross bar and a Richie Arenas (Guatemala City, Guatemala) header that sailed just high of the goal. After many failed scoring opportunities, Rutgers entered its fourth overtime match of the season.
St. Mary’s finished off its come-from-behind upset bid with a goal in the third minute of the second overtime. SMC’s Michael Johnson pushed in a Diego Rovira corner kick just inside the far post to seal it for the Gaels, who improved to 5-7 for the season.
Karcz guided Rutgers to a 1-0 lead just before halftime. Sophomore Sammy Castellanos (Philadelphia, PA), making his second start of the season, sent a low deep cross in front of the goal which Karcz beat St. Mary’s keeper Kellan Wilson to, putting in his fourth tally of the season from five yards out.
Despite the one-goal lead, Rutgers was pushing for more and seemed on the verge of its second goal of the match, out-shooting the Gaels 13-2 in the first period.
After absorbing constant pressure for the entire match, St. Mary’s finally moved the ball past the RU defense. The Gaels made the most of their few scoring chances with the tying score in the 72nd minute. The Gael’s Matt Fitzgerald fired a shot that bounced off Rutgers goalkeeper Lubos Ancin (Burlington, NJ), who made the start in goal for Rutgers in the second half. Anthony Butler collected the loose ball and put it in from just inside six-yard box for the equalizer.
Senior Scott Conway (Aston, PA) made two saves in the first period before being relieved by Ancin at the start of the second half. Ancin made one save for the Scarlet Knights. Wilson made 12 saves for St. Mary’s including several tough stops in the second period.
“We didn’t finish our chances and the ball didn’t seem to drop for us today,” said Rutgers head coach Bob Reasso. “Their goalie kept them in the game. We made a couple mistakes defensively and St. Mary’s capitalized on them.”
Arenas, who score twice for Rutgers in its win over San Diego State on Friday, and senior Josh Gros (Mechanicsburg, PA), were part of the Rutgers Classic All-Tournament team announced at the conclusion of the tournament. Other members of the All-Tournament team included Colin Hanke (SDSU), Ryan Curtis (SDSU), Matt Fitzgerald (SMC), Michael Johnson (SMC), Anthony Butler (SMC), Tim O’Neill and Simone Salinno (SJU). Chris Winger of St. John’s was the Tournament Defensive MVP, while the Red Storm’s Matt Groenwald took Offensive MVP honors.
Rutgers will return to action on Wednesday, Oct 8, at 3 p.m. when it takes on Seton Hall in South Orange, NJ.