Photo by Michael J Franco

Rutgers men soccer historic season ends in First Round of NCAA Tournament

Rutgers men's soccer historic season was ended by the University of Pennsylvania, 3-0, in the first round of the NCAA Men's College Cup.

Rutgers came off arguably their biggest win in the history of the program knocking off Indiana to win the Big Ten championship earning themselves their first Big Ten title for any male athletic program here in Piscataway.

During their time in the Big Ten, it was a great run for this team, proving they could get wins after picking up six draws during the regular season. They finished 4-2-2 in conference play, which was their best record in Big Ten play since joining in 2014. It had been a significant struggle for Rutgers since they jumped to the Big Ten, but they proved that they could hang with some of the best soccer programs in the nation this season.

Rutgers was led this season by transfer student MD Myers, who scored 13 goals, assisting seven goals as well. He was awarded the Offensive Player of the Big Ten Tournament, being a huge contributor to Rutgers' Big Ten Championship run. Myers and Rutgers now hoped to make some noise on the national stage after conquering the Big Ten.

UPenn, who just came off their Ivy League championship, came out of the gate putting two shots on goal in the first two minutes. Sophomore Aaron Messer found senior teammate Ben Stitz who ripped a shot to get an early goal giving the Quakers a quick 1-0 lead in the first minute.

Rutgers had their first opportunity to tally a goal when Jackson Temple took a shot, but goalie Nick Christoffersen made a great save as he locked down the net for UPenn. Later in the first half, UPenn had three opportunities to add to their lead, but keeper Ciaran Dalton made two crucial saves. Still, with two shots in under 15 seconds, UPenn added another goal as Korzeiowski hit the back of the net in the 30th minute to make it 2-0 UPenn.

Rutgers did not have the power on offense they had created in the Big Ten tournament to keep this game to a one goal game. For most of the first half, UPenn dominated the ball possession keeping Rutgers scoreless through one leading 2-0.

The Scarlet Knights found themselves with three close opportunities at the net early in the second half, but Christoffersen made two crucial saves in the first ten minutes of the half. Christoffersen would have five saves on the night to keep Rutgers scoreless leaving no magic left in the tank for Rutgers.

In the 69th minute, Stitz got his second goal of the night as UPenn cruised to advance in the NCAA Tournament to face Syracuse on Sunday

Rutgers' season will be one to remember as the team will now have next year to look forward to as they hope to build on this successful season and compete in the Big Ten conference from here on out.

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