PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Rutgers men’s soccer team has unveiled its schedule for the 2004 fall season. In all, Rutgers will play 11 of its 18-match regular season schedule at the friendly confines of Yurcak Field.
The Scarlet Knights will once again test themselves against the toughest competition around the country, highlighted by six NCAA Tournament participants from last season. In all, Rutgers will face four opponents which finished ranked among the top-25, including three in the top-10, of the 2003 final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll. Unlike last year’s road-dominated schedule, the Scarlet Knights will play 11 matches at home in 2004, including its opening two matches of the regular season. As accustomed, Rutgers will play nearly all its home games in the evening, with nine contests under the bright lights of Yurcak Field. RU will play a total of 14 night games in 2004.
“We are very excited for the upcoming season,” said Rutgers men’s soccer head coach Bob Reasso. “I am thrilled to have 11 home games this year; it will be great for our fans. We are hosting a lot of very competitive teams at Yurcak Field this season and it should make for some very exciting matches.”
RU will begin its quest for its 13th NCAA Tournament berth under Reasso, who enters his 24th season at the helm of the program, with a Friday evening home contest against BIG EAST foe Pittsburgh on Sept. 3. Five days later, Monmouth (9/8) comes to Piscataway for a Wednesday evening matchup.
The regular season’s second weekend will prove to be a pivotal one for Rutgers, with a trip to Norfolk, VA, to participate in the Old Dominion Tournament. Rutgers will open competition against William & Mary (9/10), a team it opened the 2003 season with a thrilling come-from-behind overtime victory against. The Scarlet Knights will close out the weekend tournament against the host Monarchs, who, like Rutgers, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2003.
The Scarlet Knights return home where they will play five of their next six games at Yurcak Field, highlighted by the 19th annual Philips/adidas Rutgers Classic. Considered one of the premiere in-season tournaments around the country, the 2004 version includes stiff competition for RU in the College of Charleston (10/1) and Hartwick. (10/3). Prior to the tournament, Rutgers will host Atlantic-10 power Temple (9/15) and BIG EAST foe Providence (9/19). A road contest with Villanova (9/22) precludes what many consider to be one of the biggest non-conference opponents to come to Yurcak Field in this fall. The University of Michigan (9/24), out of the Big Ten Conference, travels to Piscataway for a Friday evening match to round out the Scarlet Knights’ September slate. The Wolverines, who finished ranked seventh in the 2003 final NSCAA poll, advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2003 NCAA Tournament.
What has evolved into one of the fiercest rivalries in all of collegiate soccer will add a new chapter to its storied tradition on Oct. 6 as Rutgers and St. John’s meet in Jamaica, NY. The last time the two schools met was in the BIG EAST Tournament semifinals when the Red Storm captured a thrilling victory with a 4-3 advantage on penalty kicks to advance past the Scarlet Knights. St. John’s went on to finish as the runner-up in the 2003 NCAA College Cup.
A pair of home BIG EAST matches with Boston College (10/9) and Georgetown (10/13) follow, leading into a tough Saturday night contest with 2003 NCAA Tournament participant Connecticut (10/16) in Storrs, CT. A trip to Syracuse (10/20) to face the Orange rounds out the two-match road swing.
Rutgers winds down its regular-season slate with a pair of home games, culminating with a trip to West Virginia on Oct. 30. The Scarlet Knights will first play an always-exciting Saturday night match at Yurcak Field with Notre Dame (10/23), who the Scarlet Knights defeated 5-2 on the road last season. ND is the sixth opponent on RU’s 2004 schedule to receive a berth in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, ending the year eighth in the national polls. Patriot League foe Lehigh (10/27) comes to Piscataway for the Scarlet Knights’ home finale, prior to RU’s regular-season finale with the Mountaineers.
Rutgers, which has made the eight-team post season BIG EAST Championship every season since joining the league in 1995, will serve as the host of the 2004 BIG EAST Championship with the semifinal and final rounds scheduled for Nov. 12 and Nov. 14 at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ.
The Scarlet Knights will tune up for the season with exhibition matches against Seton Hall and Ohio State. Seton Hall is one of two teams Rutgers will not face in its 12-match regular-season BIG EAST schedule. The Scarlet Knights and the Pirates will meet on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at Yurcak Field. Rutgers will travel to Columbus, OH, to face Ohio State in a College Cup Preview match at Columbus’ Crew Stadium on Friday, Aug. 27.
Rutgers posted an 11-7-4 record in 2003, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. RU finished fourth in the BIG EAST regular season standings, reaching the semifinals of the conference tournament. The Scarlet Knights ended their season with a loss at No. 21 Akron, 3-2, on Nov. 26, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
RUTGERS MEN’S SOCCER 2004 SCHEDULE
Day Date Opponent Place Time
Wed. Aug. 25 SETON HALL (Exhibition) PISCATAWAY, NJ 7:00 p.m.
Fri. Aug. 27 Ohio State (Exhibition)$ Columbus, OH 7:00 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 3 PITTSBURGH* PISCATAWAY, NJ 7:00 p.m.
Wed. Sept. 8 MONMOUTH PISCATAWAY, NJ 7:00 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 10 William & Mary^ Norfolk, VA 6:00 p.m.
Sun. Sept. 12 Old Dominion ^ Norfolk, VA 3:00 p.m.
Wed. Sept. 15 TEMPLE PISCATAWAY, NJ 7:00 p.m.
Sun. Sept. 19 PROVIDENCE* PISCATAWAY, NJ 2:00 p.m.
Wed. Sept. 22 Villanova* Villanova, PA 3:30 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 24 MICHIGAN PISCATAWAY, NJ 7:00 p.m.
19th annual Rutgers Philips/adidas Classic
Fri. Oct. 1 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON PISCATAWAY, NJ 8:00 p.m.
Sun. Oct. 3 HARTIWCK PISCATAWAY, NJ 3:00 p.m.
Wed. Oct. 6 St. John’s* Jamaica, NY 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 9 BOSTON COLLEGE* PISCATAWAY, NJ 7:00 p.m.
Wed. Oct. 13 GEORGETOWN* PISCATAWAY, NJ 7:00 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 16 Connecticut* Storrs, CT 7:00 p.m.
Wed. Oct. 20 Syracuse* Syracuse, NY 7:00 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 23 NOTRE DAME* PISCATAWAY, NJ 7:00 p.m.
Wed. Oct. 27 LEHIGH PISCATAWAY, NJ 7:00 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 30 West Virginia* Morgantown, WV 7:00 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 6 BIG EAST Tournament Quarterfinals Campus Sites TBA
Fri. Nov. 12 BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals PISCATAWAY, NJ TBA
Sun. Nov. 14 BIG EAST Tournament Finals PISCATAWAY, NJ TBA
Home matches in CAPS
* Denotes BIG EAST match
^ Old Dominion Tournament in Norfolk, VA
$ College Cup Preview at Columbus Crew Stadium