PISCATAWAY, NJ – Senior Chris Karcz (Clifton, NJ) completed his improbable comeback Friday night, scoring a pair of goals to lead Rutgers to a 3-0 upset of third-ranked Michigan in front of 1,572 fans at Yurcak Field. The win improves Rutgers to 3-3-2 overall, handing Michigan its first loss of the season at 6-1.
Karcz, a two-time All-BIG EAST selection, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the spring. After extensive rehabilitation, he made his season debut against Villanova on Wednesday, nearly scoring on the second of his two shots. He capped the unlikely comeback with two goals tonight – his 16th and 17th career goals.
“Chris showed everyone how tough of a competitor he is,” said Rutgers head coach Bob Reasso. “You can not replace a kid like Chris. I was happy for him. We played a great team in Michigan. It was a great win for us and a very entertaining game for our fans.”
Karcz hooked up with freshman Zach Simi (East Brunswick, NJ) twice in the second half, scoring two of RU’s three second-half tallies. Simi crossed the ball to Karcz, who was situated in the center of the box. He rocketed in a low ball two minutes into the second half to put the Scarlet Knights up 1-0. The pair replayed its earlier goal in the 78th minute. Simi crossed the ball in from the left side where Karcz shot the ball into Michigan goalkeeper Joe Zawacki, who deflected it. The ball slipped inside the right post, extending the Scarlet Knights’ lead to 2-0.
Shortly after Karcz exited the match, signaling a standing ovation from the boisterous crowd, Rutgers tacked on a third score. Junior Scott Gahagan (Old Bridge, NJ) received a feed from sophomore Alieu Terry (Silver Spring, MD), lobbing it over the keeper’s head for his second goal of the season.
Rutgers dominated offensively, outshooting the Wolverines 12-4 while holding a 7-5 edge in corner kicks. Both RU goalkeeper Lubos Ancin (Burlington, N) and UM’s Zawacki recorded one save in the match.
Rutgers returns to action next Friday night, serving as the host for 2004 Philips/adidas Soccer Classic. St. John’s and Hartwick will open the tournament at 5:30 and the Scarlet Knights will face College of Charleston in the night-cap at 8 p.m.