PISCATAWAY, N.J. (September 20, 2013) – The Rutgers men’s soccer team fell in its American Athletic Conference (AAC) debut dropping a 1-0 contest to SMU at Yurcak Field Friday night.
SMU, last season’s Conference USA regular season champions and a squad that has faced previously ranked No. 1 Indiana and No. 7 Notre Dame earlier this season, improved to 2-5-0 overall. Rutgers, who was closing out a five-game homestand at Yurcak Field, fell to 3-3-1 on the year.
The Scarlet Knights held both the edge in shots (13-9) and corners (6-2), but the Mustangs netted the lone goal for the win in the 64th minute.
“We knew that SMU was a very good team regardless of their record,” said Rutgers head coach Dan Donigan. “It’s upsetting that Mael (Corboz) didn’t have a great game and Kene (Eze) had to come off the field early on. We have to have others step up in the attacking third of the field for us when those guys don’t have the impact they normally do. Unfortunately we didn’t capitalize on the opportunities we had. I thought we played pretty well, but SMU did what they had to do to leave here with the result.”
Rutgers lost the services of second leading scorer Kene Eze (Sayreville, N.J.) with an injury early in first half action.
The first half was mainly played in the midfield with the Scarlet Knights entering the intermission outshooting the Mustangs, 5-3. Sophomore Dmitri Vassiliadis (Franklin, N.J.) and Drew Morgan (Atlanta, Ga.) had headers off corners and Mael Corboz (Green Brook, N.J.) added shots from the top of the box off a free kick and from the right corner of the box that was saved at the left post.
Freshman midfielder Erik Sa (Watchung, N.J.) had three early second half shots for the Scarlet Knights. Two were from deep along the left sideline, while another went just wide of the right post.
The Mustangs netted the game’s lone goal with Andrew Morales lifting the ball over the RU defense into the box to a charging Alfred Koroma at the right post.
Five minutes after the SMU goal, Corboz had a pair of attempts for the equalizer. The reigning AAC Player of the Week had a free kick at the top of the box go above the crossbar and another look just wide of the goal.
Junior midfielder Nathan Bruccoleri (Bordentown, N.J.) also had a late look at the net, but was denied as SMU keeper and last season’s C-USA Goalie of the Year, Jaime Ibarra, made the save.
Ibarra stopped four of the Scarlet Knights’ shots on goal, while freshman David Greczek (Fairfield, N.J.) also made four saves in the loss.
The Rutgers men’s soccer team hits the road for their next two contests. The Scarlet Knights travel to Drexel on Tuesday, Sept. 24 and resume AAC action at Memphis on Saturday, Sept. 28
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