PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 23, 2012) – Rutgers men’s soccer will kick off its 2012 campaign on Friday, Aug. 24, hosting Fordham at 8 p.m. at Yurcak Field. The contest will be broadcast live on RVision, presented by AT&T with Danny Breslauer and Kyle Franco calling the action.
The match serves as a nightcap to a Rutgers soccer doubleheader with the women’s squad taking on Bucknell at 6 p.m.
The meeting with Fordham is the 12th in the all-time series and first between the two teams since 1979. The Scarlet Knights are 7-4 against the Rams, including a 5-1 mark at home. Fordham, picked to finish fifth in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll, returns six starters from last year’s team which earned the regular season A10 Championship behind an 11-7-1 record. The Rams are led by head coach Jim McElderry, the 2011 NSCAA/Mondo Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.
Head coach Dan Donigan embarks on his third season at the helm of a program that showed marked improvement in his second year in charge of the Scarlet Knights. The 11-year college coaching veteran led the squad to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2011, its first trip back to the NCAA Tournament since 2006 and best performance since 2001.
Donigan and his coaching staff were recognized with the NSCAA/Mondo Northeast Region Coach of the Year honors after helping turn in one of the most successful campaigns in recent history. In addition, assistant coach Dave Beck was awarded the NSCAA Assistant Coach of the Year (Northeast Region).
The Rutgers coaching staff will be up for the challenge of duplicating its success from a year ago, this time with a far younger squad in tow. This year’s team welcomes 13 newcomers and features 21 players with two years of playing experience or less. Eight veterans dot the Scarlet Knight roster and their leadership will be integral as Donigan continues to establish the tradition of Rutgers soccer.
The Scarlet Knights returns their top two scorers in Juan Pablo Correa (Montville, N.J.) and Kene Eze (Sayreville, N.J.). The pair each posted a team-high six goals, while Correa added five assists and Eze chipped in three. Correa concluded his stellar freshman season with a selection to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team and NSCAA Second Team All-Northeast Region honors.
Among the group of returns who are poised to contribute are midfielders Robin Brown (Edinburgh, Scotland), Nathan Bruccoleri (Bordentown, N.J.), Max Moller (Tulsa, Okla.) and Todd Webb (Toms River, N.J.) as well as defenders Dragan Naumoski (Fair Lawn, N.J.) and Joe Setchell (Kings Lynn, England). Brown, Bruccoleri, Naumoski and Setchell each tallied points last season with Brown recording one assist, while Bruccoleir scored two goals and one assist. Naumoski was third on the squad with three assists and Setchell posted his first career goal in 2011.
Anchoring the Scarlet Knight defense will be fifth-year senior goalkeeper Kevin McMullen (Blackwood, N.J.) who had a breakout junior season. McMullen became RU’s regular starter after game two and went on to post a 9-6-4 record, including a career-best three shutouts while also helping Rutgers to a seven-game unbeaten streak to close out the regular season.
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