PISCATAWAY, N.J. (September 8, 2013) – Senior forward Kene Eze (Sayreville, N.J.) gave the Rutgers men’s soccer team a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute, but a late regulation goal by #5 Akron and a penalty kick in the second overtime lifted the nationally-ranked Zips to the 2-1 win over the Scarlet Knights at Yurcak Field on Sunday afternoon.
Eze broke the 0-0 stalemate on his third goal of the season. Freshman Erik Sa (Watchung Hill, N.J.) fed the ball from the left side of the box where Eze’s header from the left post sailed into the right corner. For Sa, it was his first assist in a Scarlet Knight uniform.
Akron (2-1-0) had a chance at an equalizer midway through the second half, but an open shot from Reinaldo Brenes hit the far post to keep Rutgers in the lead.
The Rutgers defense was able to thwart the Akron offense, which ended up outshooting the Scarlet Knights 28-8, until the 85th minute of action. With five minutes remaining in regulation, Akron’s Eric Stevenson managed to slip the ball past the Rutgers defense at the top of the box, setting up Ismail Serembe to score from 18-yards out.
Eze had a chance to give RU the win before overtime. In the final minute of regulation, Rutgers’ leading scorer broke open in the box, but was tackled by a pair of Zip defenders to block his attempt on net.
Rutgers was forced to play a man down during both overtimes after sophomore defender Drew Morgan (Atlanta, Ga.) picked up his second yellow card. Neither team scored in the first overtime with the Scarlet Knights’ only shot in the extra sessions coming off a header from sophomore Mitchell Taintor (Storrs, Conn.) on a RU corner kick.
Brenes, a Hermann Watch List member, collected the game-winner after the Zips were awarded a penalty kick in the 105th minute. Brenes went right with the ball brushing RU’s freshman goalkeeper Dave Greczek’s (Fairfield, N.J.) fingertips before going into the net.
Greczek ended the afternoon making five saves. Akron’s Fernando Pina stopped four Scarlet Knight shots on net.
“It’s the little things that make a difference against a team like Akron,” said Rutgers head coach Dan Donigan. “Akron is very talented and I give them a lot of credit. This is the third game now teams have come from behind and got us. We can’t be content to sit back and let teams come at us like we did in the first half. We cannot give up those precious moments in a game. We certainly had opportunities to win that game.”
A Rutgers victory would have given Akron back-to-back losses for the first time since 2007.
The Rutgers men’s soccer team (1-2-1) continues its homestand next week as the Scarlet Knights host in-state rival Princeton on Friday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. and South Carolina on Sunday, Sept. 15 at noon. Both games will be carried on RVision presented by AT&T at ScarletKnights.com
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