PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 31, 2014) – Freshman forward Jason Wright (Kingston, Jamaica) found the back of the Lafayette net twice to lead the Rutgers men’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory over the Leopards at a hot and humid Yurcak Field on Sunday afternoon.
The victory upped Rutgers’ overall record to 2-0 on the season. Wright has scored all three of the Scarlet Knights goals thus far in 2014. Lafayette, meanwhile, dropped its first game of 2014 to fall to 1-1 on the year.
“It was a tough, hard-fought win. I give a lot of credit to Lafayette, they defended well and were very organized and made it very difficult to penetrate,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “Fortunately we were able to get through there twice and Jason had two great finishes. We gave up an own goal and that’s unfortunate. It’s nobody’s fault but it makes for an interesting finish. To manage the last 15 minutes after they scored and hold onto games is good. Our defense has done pretty well these two games. We are happy where we are at this point.”
The Scarlet Knights took the lead in the game’s ninth minute for the early edge and one they would never relinquish. RU netminder David Greczek (Fairfield, N.J.) cleared the ball out of the backfield to junior defender Ross Tetro (Freehold, N.J.). Tetro in turn was able to find redshirt junior J.P. Correa (Montville, N.J.) open in the middle of Lafayette’s territory. Similar to what Wright did against UMKC on Friday night, the freshman forward spilt two Leopard defenders to receive the pass from Correa at the top of the box. Wright’s shot hit right post and bounced into the back of the Lafayette net for the 1-0 edge.
RU almost added to its lead in the 22nd minute of play with Correa sending a cross in front of the Lafayette cage. While Correa was able to draw out Leopard goalkeeper Sandy Leavy, unfortunately senior Nate Bruccoleri (Bordentown, N.J.) was not able to get to the ball in time, despite a diving effort, to add to the Scarlet Knight advantage.
Lafayette, who was outshot 5-4 by Rutgers in the first stanza, had a chance off a corner in the 35th minute, but a header by Daniel Felman was stopped by Greczek. Additionally, a shot from Wyatt Fabian during a scramble in the Scarlet Knight box went wide with just over five minutes left until the half.
Rutgers took a 2-0 lead in the 67th minute off of Wright’s second goal of the afternoon. Fellow newcomer Miles Hackett (Montclair, N.J.) sent a pass from the right end line across the Leopard net to Wright at the left post for a shot eight yards out into the opposite corner of the goal.
The Leopards thwarted the shutout off a Scarlet Knight miscue. With just over 17 minutes left to play, RU was attempting to clear Lafayette out of the box when a Niel Guzman (Bridgewater, N.J.) header went up and over Greczek for an own goal.
Greczek, who ended the afternoon with a trio of stops, came up with a huge save in the 83rd minute. Lafayette’s Todd Forrester was open eight yards out, but was unable to get the ball past RU’s sophomore goalkeeper.
Rutgers ended the game with a 10-8 advantage in shots, while both squads took three corners. Greczek’s counterpart, Leavy, made two saves in the loss.
The Rutgers men's soccer team returns to action on Thursday, Sept. 4 against Syracuse at 7 p.m. and meets Hofstra on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m.
· Rutgers improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2008 when the Scarlet Knights opened with wins over Delaware (2-1) and Manhattan (3-0).
· Freshman forward Jason Wright’s three goals are the most by a Scarlet Knight since Kene Eze’s put away three-straight goals and four total against Cincinnati in the play-in game of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Nov. 8, 2013. Wright leads RU with six points on the year.
· Redshirt junior forward J.P. Correa captured his seventh career assist. He has 21 points in his career (7G, 7A).
· With his three saves, sophomore David Greczek brings his career save total to 114.
· Freshman forward Miles Hackett had his first career start against Lafayette. Sophomore defender Spencer Hambleton had his first start of the 2014 season against the Leopards.
· The Scarlet Knights improved to 32-17-4 all-time against Lafayette. It was the 53rd meeting between the two squads, the second longest series in Rutgers history. Princeton and Rutgers, the longest rivalry in the RU record books, will have their 57th meeting later this season on Oct. 7.
· RU has outshot both its opponents to start off the 2014 season.
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