VILLANOVA, PA - The Rutgers men’s soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 21 Villanova Wednesday afternoon at the Villanova Soccer Complex. The loss, their first in BIG EAST Conference play, drops the Scarlet Knights to 2-3-2 on the season and 1-1-1 in league action. The Wildcats improve to 5-0-1 and 2-0 in conference action on the season.
Villanova’s Marcelo Rodriguez slid through the RU defense and fired a shot above the outstretched arms of Scarlet Knight goalkeeper Lubos Ancin (Burlington, NJ), which snuck just under the cross bar four minutes into the second half for what would be the deciding score.
Rutgers pressed hard for the tying score, outshooting the Wildcats, 11-9 in the match, holding a 2-1 edge on corner kicks. Ancin made three saves in goal for RU, while his counterpart, Craig Bald of Villanova made four stops.
Senior All-BIG EAST forward Chris Karcz (Clifton, NJ), who suffered a left knee injury in the spring, made his season debut for the Scarlet Knights in the 27th minute of the game. He finished the game with two shots on goal. Karcz nearly connected for his 16th career goal late in the second half, but the ball sailed just high of the cross bar.
“We played well early in the match,” said Rutgers head coach Bob Reasso. “We couldn’t find our chances in the attacking third. I thought we had the better of the play, but could not score a goal. It was nice to get Chris Karcz back. He was active throughout the match. We hope his knee holds up and he continues his comeback.”
Rutgers returns home to face third-ranked Michigan out of the Big Ten Conference on Friday at 7 p.m. at Yurcak Field.
Traveling Note: Rutgers arrived at the Villanova Soccer Complex just 30 minutes prior to the start of its match with the Wildcats, limiting its warm-up routine. It was delayed for a considerable amount of time as a result of road closings for President George W. Bush’s motorcade, which was traveling through the Philadelphia area.