PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 27, 2014) – The Rutgers men's soccer team kicks off the 2014 season this weekend hosting UMKC on Friday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. and Lafayette on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 1 p.m.
NEW YEAR, NEW TEAM, NEW LEAGUE
The Scarlet Knights return11 letterwinners, including seven starters, and welcome 10 newcomers “To The Banks” for its inaugural Big Ten season.
Among the returning Scarlet Knights are junior defender/midfielder Mitchell Taintor (2G), sophomore midfielder Erik Sa (1G, 2A) and senior midfielder Nate Bruccoleri (1G, 1A). Additionally, RU welcomes back sophomore David Greczek, who posted a .812 save percentage and 1.23 goal against average along with five shutouts last season.
ABOUT THE SCHEDULE
The Rutgers men’s soccer team is never one to shy away from a tough schedule and the 2014 schedule is certainly no different.
RU will play eight NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, with six of those teams coming from the Big Ten. Yurcak Field will play host to 12 regular season contests, including four Big Ten matches that include national runner-up Maryland, Big Ten Tournament champion Indiana, as well as NCAA Tournament participants Northwestern and Michigan. RU’s home schedule also features Ivy League champion, Pennsylvania, and the Missouri Valley Conference champion, Bradley.
Friday will mark the first meeting between Rutgers and UMKC.
Last season, UMKC finished at 4-11-4 overall and 3-6-1 in the WAC. The Roos ended the season with a double overtime loss against Bakersfield in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament.
UMKC returns 12 letterwinners and nine starters from last season. Among the top returners are senior forwards Jordan Rideout (7G) and Tato Chiaparro (5G, 1A) along with senior goalkeeper Chris McGaughey (87 saves, 2 shutouts).
Head coach Rick Benben begins his 17th season at the helm of the Roos program. He has compiled a 116-148-33 overall record.
The Roos opened preseason action with a 3-1 win over Missouri-Saint Louis. UMKC scored three unaswered goals before the Tritons thwarted the shutout in the game’s 86th minute. Returning leading scorer, Rideout, gave the Roos a lead they would never relinquish in the 11th minute on a long cross from classmate Chiaparro. Wes White and Guerrero Pino also added goals in the second half.
UMKC fell, 3-1, to Rockhurst in its final exhibition contest. Broc Cramer scored the Roos lone tally, on an assist from Chris Bentancourt. In goal, Chris McGaughey made one save. UMKC outshot the Hawks, 14-6, and had a 9-0 advantage in corners.
Lafayette will open the 2014 season hosting St. Peter’s before traveling to Yurcak Field for Sunday afternoon’s matchup.
The Scarlet Knights own a 31-17-4 record against Lafayette and meet the Leopards for the first time since 2003. RU has gone undefeated in the last eight meetings with Lafayette and has picked up victories in each of the last four contests.
The Leopards, who return 14 letterwinners and six starters from last season, finished 2013 at 4-6-8 overall and in eighth place in the Patriot League with a 2-5-2 mark.
Dennis Bohn begins his 14th season as head coach and has compiled a 121-74-48 record on the sidelines for the Leopards.
The Scarlet Knights enter the 2014 regular season after going 2-0 in their two exhibition appearances.
RUTGERS 2, VIRGINIA 1
Back on Aug. 16, RU captured a 2-1 win over Virginia, a squad ranked at No. 3 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Preseason Poll. Freshman Miles Hackett netted both goals against the Cavaliers in his Scarlet Knight debut.
The Cavaliers took an early 1-0 lead in the 11th minute. as they were able to capitalize on a turnover just outside the box with Peter Pearson feeding Riggs Lennon for a shot to the left corner from 12 yards out.
Rutgers, however, managed to tie the game at 1-1 in the game’s 23rd minute. Hackett, one of seven newcomers to take to the field for the first time as Scarlet Knights, headed in a free kick from redshirt junior JP Correa from five yards out.
The game remained tied until the 65th minute when Hackett found the back of the Cavalier net on a short tap in off a rebound for the game-winner.
Hackett finished the game with a game-high four shots, including three on net. Rutgers ended the game outshooting Virginia, 5-3.
Both sophomores David Greczek and Mitch Wailier saw time in goal for the Scarlet Knights. Greczek, who made 108 saves last season, made RU’s lone save in playing first half action. Wailer played the entire second half, however did not register a save as the Rutgers defense kept the Cavaliers without a shot the final 45 minutes of play.
RUTGERS 1, NJIT 0
Back on Aug. 23, RU closed out exhibition action with a 1-0 victory over NJIT as redshirt junior JP Correa sent a header in from the left post off a corner kick from sophomore Erik Sa.
Correa’s goal came in the game’s 24th minute as Rutgers outshot NJIT, 14-6, and held a 7-2 advantage in corners.
Correa had a chance for an insurance goal with just over a minute remaining in the contest. From the left post, at point blank range, Correa’s shot was thwarted by outstretched Highlander goalkeeper Brett Conrads to keep the Scarlet Knights to just one goal on the evening.
Correa ended the night with four shots on goal, while freshman forward Jason Wright accounted for four shots, including a pair on goal.
Sophomores Mitch Wailer and David Greczek once again spilt time in net. Walier got the start in goal, making one save during a scramble in the box.
PRESEASON PLAYERS TO WATCH
Senior midfielder Nate Bruccoleri, junior defender Ross Tetro and sophomore goalkeeper David Greczek were each named Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch.
The lone Scarlet Knight senior, Brucolleri was last season’s MVP. He appeared in all 20 games logging three points from a goal and assist. He notched a goal against Elon, for which he was a named to the Duke Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team, and had an assist in the American Athletic Conference play-in game vs. Cincinnati. Bruccoleri has started 52 of his 55 career appearances for the Scarlet Knights and totaled nine points in his career (3G, 3A).
Last season’s George Dochat Sportsmanship Award winner, Tetro appeared in and started all 20 games in the backfield for the Scarlet Knights in 2013. He scored the game-winner against Penn State in RU’s 4-1 victory and helped the Scarlet Knights to five shutouts. Entering his third season “On The Banks,” Tetro has started every game of his career.
A Second Team All-American Athletic Conference and All-Rookie Team selection, Greczek held down a 1.23 goals against average and totaled 108 saves in his first season. His 108 saves were the most since 1994 and ranks him sixth on RU’s single season saves list. Greczek averaged 5.4 stops per game and recorded a .812 save percentage.
BIG TEN PRESEASON COACHES POLL
2. Michigan State
4. Penn State
9. Ohio State
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Senior Nate Bruccoleri and juniors J.P. Correa, Drew Morgan and Ross Tetro will serve as the 2014 Scarlet Knight captains.
WHAT A RUN
The Scarlet Knights made a late season run, reaching the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament in dramatic fashion. RU battled injuries to several key personnel throughout the 2013 campaign, but once the the Scarlet Knights were near full strength at the end of the year, they proved they could stand toe-to-toe with anyone in the country.
Seeded eighth in the American, the Scarlet Knights began post-season play with a 5-1 play-in victory over Cincinnati. Senior forward Kene Eze exploded for eight points on four goals – the most goals by an American Athletic Conference player in 2013 and the most by a Scarlet Knight since 2006.
Rutgers then went on to upset the tournament top-seed and seventh-ranked Louisville, 1-0, the very next day on the Cardinals home turf. Goalkeeper David Greczek was a stalwart in net, logging nine saves en route to his fifth shutout of the year.
The Scarlet Knights advanced to play USF in the American semfinal’s at Toyota Park in Frisco, Texas. A trip to the AAC championship game came down to double overtime.
After both teams traded goals in the early moments of the game, the contest remained tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation. Four minutes into the second overtime, USF controlled the ball and sent in a shot from 22 yards out into the high right corner of the Scarlet Knight goal for the win and would go on to capture the 2014 American Athletic Conference title.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS
Goalkeeper David Greczek finished his first season “On The Banks” with 108 saves in the 2013 campaign. It is the first time since 1995 an RU keeper has logged 100 or more saves in a single season and the most since Steve Widdowson’s 106 saves in 1994. He also puts his name tied for third in the single season record book.
Junior midfielder Nathan Bruccoleri was named Rutgers’ Most Valuable Player at the end of the 2013 season. Bruccoleri appeared in and started all 20 games, logging three points from a goal and an assist. He was named to the Duke Soccer Classic All-Tournament team after posting a goal against Elon. Bruccoleri also recorded an assist in the American Athletic Conference play-in game vs. Cincinnati, as RU exploded for five goals against the Bearcats en-route to a quarterfinal upset of Louisville and advanced to the AAC semifinals.
ALL CONFERENCE TEAMS - 2013
Two members of the Scarlet Knight squad landed on the American Athletic Conference’s All-Rookie squad - David Greczek and Erik Sa - while Greczek was also a Second Team All-AAC honoree.
Greczek was among the league top keepers holding down a 1.23 goals against average and .812 save percentage. He has totaled 108 saves, averaging 5.4 stops per game, along with five shutouts. Among those shutouts was a season-high 12 stops in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference semifinals against eventual champion USF and nine saves in the victory over top-seeded and seventh ranked Louisville, in the AAC quarterfinal. He also made 11 saves, including six stops in overtime, in a regular season draw with USF and also registered an assist in RU’s 3-0 victory over Princeton in early September.
Sa entered his rookie season at RU as a highly touted recruit having been named one of the top 10 midfielders from the class of 2013 by College Soccer News. He recorded his first collegiate points on an assist against then-No. 5 Akron and also had a helper on the game-winning goal against the top-seeded and seventh ranked Cardinals to help RU to its AAC semifinal appearance. Sa also captured the game-winner in Rutgers’ victory over then-No. 15 Memphis for which he was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Week.
2013 INDIVIDUAL HONORS
o Duke Soccer Classic All-Tournament Team
o Drafted by Toronto FC in Fourth Round of MLS SuperDraft
o Third Team NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Northeast Region Team
o Preseason All-American Athletic Conference
o Second Team All-American Athletic Conference
o American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team
o American Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Week (9/15, 10/20)
o College Sports Madness National Defensive Player of the Week (11/10)
o Top Drawer National Team of the Week (11/10)
o American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team
o College Soccer News Top Ten Incoming Midfielders
o College Soccer News Top Ten Freshman
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