PISCATAWAY, N.J. (September 14, 2012) – In what was a defensive battle for both squads, a late goal by junior forward Kene Eze (Sayreville, N.J.) pushed the Rutgers men’s soccer team (3-2, 0-0) past the College of Charleston (3-3) Friday night at Yurcak Field.
“We didn’t have a good game or play very well and a lot of the credit goes to the College of Charleston,” said head coach Dan Donigan. “They’re a good, mature soccer team and they kept us chasing and defending, and we never really figured things out for 80 minutes. I thought in the last 10-15 minutes the game opened up and we had some great individual efforts. That’s a good team, they’re tough and at the end of the day, we’re happy to get a result against a very good team.”
Sprinting down the right side with defenders in pursuit, freshman midfielder Dimitri Vassiliadis (Franklin, N.J.) found a cutting Eze deep in the box with 8:30 remaining in regulation.
The pass allowed Eze - who led RU with three shots along with sophomore Max Moller (Tulsa, Okla.) - to make his strike in stride, beating Cougar keeper Kees Heemskerk to the right for the game-winner. It was the first goal of the season for Eze, who ironically scored his first goal as a Scarlet Knights last season, also against the College of Charleston.
“I saw a perfect cross,” said Eze. “I was thinking to myself, ‘I have to get on the end of it’ so I did everything I could to make it an easy goal. It’s been five games and I was just waiting for that first goal to come. The coaches have been telling me that they saw it in me and luckily for me it came today.”
Prior to the goal, CofC turned up the pressure on the Knights defensively in the second half, holding RU to five shots in the period. RU’s redshirt-senior keeper, Kevin McMullen (Blackwood, N.J.), however, matched the Cougar effort. The Washington Township product made four saves in the win to hold College of Charleston scoreless, despite the Cougar’s 15-11 shot advantage in the contest.
Like much of the game, defense dominated the first half of play. Both teams entered the locker rooms scoreless at halftime, but the College of Charleston kept the offensive pressure on the Scarlet Knights throughout the period. The Cougars recorded the game’s first three shots and bested RU 8-6 in the half.
McMullen made two saves in the first half to keep the Cougars off board, while freshman defender Mitchell Taintor (Storrs, Conn.) and sophomore midfielder Nathan Bruccoleri (Bordentown, N.J.) each notched shots on goal for the Knights.
Bruccoleri’s attempt was RU’s best chance in the period, coming off a laser shot from just outside the box by Eze. The Pennington School product cleaned up the rebound following the Eze shot, but Heemskerk was right there to make the save.
The Scarlet Knights return to action Saturday Sept. 22, when they hit the road for their first BIG EAST contest of the season versus No. 12/18 Georgetown.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on both social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.