PISCATAWAY, NJ - Freshman back Bart Koffeman (The Hague, Holland) broke a scoreless tie in the 94th minute to lead fourth-seeded Rutgers past fifth-seeded Seton Hall in the BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship quarterfinals on Saturday night in front of 1,086 fans at Yurcak Field. With the victory, the Scarlet Knights advance to the BIG EAST Championship semifinals where they will face top-seeded St. John’s, the 2-1 winner over Villanova earlier in the evening, on Friday night in Storrs, CT.
Koffeman was held scoreless in his first 15 matches, but the freshman broke through in his 16th career game for his first career goal in the fourth minute of overtime, heading in a long free kick from junior Richie Arenas (Guatemala City, Guatemala) to break the stalemate. Following an SHU foul, Arenas lined up a free kick from the far side, guiding the hard shot to the box where a perfectly-placed Koffeman headed in a rocket past a diving Seton Hall goalkeeper Boris Pardo for the winning score.
“This was a competitive game throughout,” Rutgers head coach Bob Reasso said. “We fought hard all night and I thought we had the better of the play in the second half. We switched the lineup around in the second half and I thought it gave us a spark. Now we move on to play a team that we know very well in St. John’s. This was a great victory for our program.”
Rutgers outshot Seton Hall, 17-7, holding a 5-3 edge in corner kicks. Freshman Lubos Ancin (Burlington, NJ) made several key saves down the stretch, totaling four overall, for his first career shutout. Pardo tallied six for the Pirates.
The win continues the Scarlet Knights’ domination of Seton Hall in post season play, as RU owns a perfect 4-0 record against the Pirates in the postseason. In addition to tonight’s victory, RU also defeated Seton Hall in the 2001 BIG EAST quarterfinals, 2-1, and the 1998 BIG EAST quarterfinals, 3-1. Rutgers also earned a 2-1 triumph over the Pirates in a 1987 NCAA Tournament first round match in Piscataway, NJ.
Rutgers, which has played in the conference postseason tournament every season since joining the league in 1995, advances to the semifinals for the eighth time in nine appearances.
The win improves Rutgers’ record to 10-6-3 overall, while Seton Hall falls to 8-5-4.