Rutgers stays hot, defeats Colgate
Scarlet Knights win first NCAA tournament game since 2003
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers (10-6-3) continued to ride its hot streak, defeating Colgate (11-5-6) 4-2 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday at Yurcak Field. It was the first tournament appearance for the Scarlet Knights since 2006 and first win since the 2003 season.
“I thought it was a great soccer game all the way up until the penalty kick,” head coach Dan Donigan said. “That was a pretty impactful call. Right or wrong, I couldn’t tell, but that’s to be decided from whoever. That obviously changed the whole complexion of the game. I think that gave us an extra breath and a chance to manage the game a little bit better. I told them when I came here I wanted them to be a part of taking this program back to national prominence. No, we’re not there yet but we’re certainly on our way. I’m indebted to these guys for that.”
Senior midfielders Bryant Knibbs and Nate Bourdeau gave Rutgers a 2-1 lead, while freshman Juan Pablo Correa added a score in the win.
The Scarlet Knights were unbeaten in seven of their previous eight games coming into the contest against Colgate. Rutgers seemed to carry that momentum into its matchup with the Raiders, coming out with a great deal of intensity in the opening minutes.
Knibbs put Rutgers ahead 1-0 with a goal in the 22nd minute as he delivered a strike from 25 yards out that sailed past Colgate goalkeeper Grant Reed. The early goal was a harbinger of things to come with the Scarlet Knights entering the game 6-1-1 on the season when scoring first, however, the Raiders quickly responded to even the score at 1-1 with a tally in the 24th minute from the team’s leading scorer Steven Miller.
The two teams closed out the first half with Colgate holding a slight 9-7 edge in shot opportunities.
The Scarlet Knights regained their footing in the second half, scoring back-to-back goals to take a more commanding lead at 3-1. Sophomore Kene Eze found himself on a breakaway down the far side of the field but was brought down in the box by a Colgate defender. Rutgers was awarded a penalty kick -- its first of the season -- which Bourdeau promptly stepped over and provided the eventual game-winner as RU took a 2-1 lead.
Bourdeau had a hand in the Scarlet Knights’ next goal as he delivered the assist for Correa’s sixth score of the season in the 81st minute. In a great one-on-one effort, Bourdeau beat his defender and carried the ball into the box where he played a pass over to Correa who did the rest from there.
Three minutes later, the Rutgers lead ballooned to 4-1 as an own goal by Colgate resulted in a score for RU in the 84th. The Raiders added a late goal with 27 seconds left to play in regulation but it was too late as the Scarlet Knights held on for the 4-2 win.