In the 73rd minute, with the match tied at 2-2, sophomore Anthony Schiavino (North Hunterdon, NJ) became the third hero of the night, when his shot into the box was deflected into the goal for his first career tally, and arguably the most important in the Scarlet Knights’ season.
An early second-half goal by Pitt’s Keeyan Young put the Scarlet Knights’ backs against the wall with just over 43 minutes left to play. Sitting in eighth place in the BIG EAST Conference standings entering the match, Rutgers needed a win to maintain its chances for a postseason spot. Rutgers had a great chance to cut the lead in half when it was awarded a penalty kick in the 47th minute, but Josh Gros’ (Mechanicsburg, PA) shot was saved by UP’s Justin Gaul to keep the score at 2-0.
About 30 seconds following the failed PK attempt, freshman Scott Gahagan (Old Bridge, NJ) used some opportunistic play to record his first collegiate goal. He pounced on a through-ball in the box and chipped it past Gaul at the 47:24 mark to cut the lead to 2-1.
RU continued its relentless pursuit of an equalizer, which came in the 60th minute. Started by a corner kick on the right side, Gros gained control of the ball at the top of the box, approximately eight yards outside, and sent a lofting pass into the box. Chris Karcz (Clifton, NJ) positioned himself perfectly and headed a shot over the hands of Gaul into the goal to tie the match at 2-2.
“When we missed the penalty, I thought we were in dire straits, but then Scott Gahagan, a young freshman, scored which was the pivotal moment,” said head coach Bob Reasso. “It gave us life after missing the penalty kick less than a minute before. In order to keep our season going, we had to win tonight’s game.”
Rutgers outshot the Panthers, 16-11, and held an 8-1 edge in corner kicks. Ricky Zinter (Penfield, NY) stopped five shots in goal, as did Gaul.
Rutgers returns to action on Wednesday, when it travels to Princeton for a 7:00 p.m. non-conference match. The regular season will conclude on Monday, November 4 with a home match vs. Boston College. BOX SCORE