Freshman leads Rutgers-Camden
Beltran scores game-winner to lift Scarlet Raptors to third round
CAMDEN, N.J. -- Corey Beltran entered the NCAA tournament with one collegiate goal in his rookie season.
Rutgers-Camden's freshman forward tripled that output over the weekend, and as a result, the Scarlet Raptors are headed to the third round of the NCAA tournament next weekend.
Beltran collected his second game-winning goal in as many days on Sunday, scoring with 6:39 left in regulation to lift Rutgers-Camden against Wesleyan (Conn.), 2-1 in a hard-fought second-round matchup.
The Scarlet Raptors (18-2-2) advance to a third-round game next weekend at a site and time to be determined. They will play Babson, which advanced on penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 double-overtime tie against Trinity (Conn.) in a second-round game on Sunday.
Wesleyan closes its stellar season at 11-3-3.
Beltran, who scored a pair of goals in a 4-2 first-round victory against the United States Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday, worked his way down the middle of the field toward goal late in Sunday’s game. At the top of the box he took a low shot between the legs of Cardinal defender and the ball found the inside of the left panel to snap a 1-1 deadlock.
The victory extended the Scarlet Raptors’ unbeaten streak to 16 games (14-0-2), one shy of the program record set in 2004 (13-0-4). The win also kept Rutgers-Camden unbeaten at home this season with an 11-0-1 mark and 15-0-1 since their last home defeat on Sept. 29, 2010, 2-1 against The College of New Jersey.
Rutgers-Camden scored the first goal of the game at 20:14 when junior back Brian Hill played a long ball up the right side that sophomore forward Mitch Grotti ran onto, pulling Wesleyan junior goalie Adam Purdy out of the net in an attempt to cut down the angle. Grotti’s shot was deflected by Purdy, but not enough to prevent it from finding the net. Grotti increased his season output to 17 goals and now owns 41 points, one behind the single-season program records set by Ed Hartley in 1981.
Grotti nearly had another tally at the end of the first half, but was denied on a great leaping save by Purdy, a stellar keeper who made eight saves in the game.
The Cardinals fought back with an impressive second half, finally notching the equalizer at 55:35 when junior forward Noah Schlesinger made a long run down the right side and sent a perfect cross into the goal mouth. Junior forward Evan Hazelett made connections with a sliding play at the left post to knock in his fifth goal of the season.
Wesleyan’s outstanding senior midfielder Steve Paresi barely missed a tie-breaking goal off the upper right corner with 22:30 remaining in regulation and the Cardinals came within inches of notching the go-ahead goal with 18:00 remaining. A shot by freshman back Greg Shaheen was saved at the goal line by the outstretched fingertips of 6-3 Raptor senior goalie Tim VanLiew, who recovered to smother the ball.