Fast start lifts Rutgers-Camden into NCAA Second Round
YORK, Penn. (Nov. 10, 2012) – Throughout the post season, fast starts have been the hallmark of the Rutgers University-Camden men's soccer team.
The Scarlet Raptors struck again quickly in their NCAA tournament opener here Saturday afternoon, and they rode that momentum to a 2-0 victory over Medaille College.
Rutgers-Camden moves into a NCAA Second Round showdown with host York (PA) College Sunday at 1:30 p.m. In the first game of the day, the Spartans (18-2-2) out-shot St. Joseph's College-Long Island, 31-3, and used a second-half goal by Cody Pearson to defeat the Golden Eagles, 1-0.
The Scarlet Raptors, ranked No. 7 in the NSCAA Top 25 and No. 14 in the D3soccer.com national poll, didn't waste any time in getting the jump on a very good Medaille team. The Mavericks, ranked No. 23 by D3soccer.com, ended their season at 17-3, snapping a seven-game winning streak.
Rutgers-Camden scored only 6:41 into the game when freshman forward Mike Ryan (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) headed in a cross from senior midfielder Zak Piccoline (Freehold, NJ/Freehold Township). It was the 17th goal of the season for Ryan, who earned New Jersey Athletic Conference First Team and Rookie of the Year honors this season. It also was his team-leading fourth game-winning goal.
Piccoline, who started the play with his short cross into the box, collected his fourth assist.
The quick goal was a continuation of the fast success Rutgers-Camden had last weekend in winning two games to capture its second straight NJAC championship. After a strong performance resulted in a 2-0 halftime lead en route to a 3-1 semifinal victory over Rutgers-Newark, the Raptors scored two goals in the opening 10:15 on their way to a 3-0 win over Rowan, 3-0.
Behind another stellar defensive effort, the Scarlet Raptors limited the high-powered Mavericks to only 11 shots all day long, including only five on goal. The Scarlet Raptors held a 22-11 advantage in shots and a 10-3 lead in corner kicks as they became the only team to blank Medaille all season long.
Rutgers-Camden collected an insurance goal at 59:42 when junior forward Mitch Grotti (Milmay, NJ/Millville) scored off a free kick from the top right corner of the box, sending a shot glancing off the crossbar and into the net. It was the 11th goal of the season for Grotti and the 40th of his career. He becomes only the third player in program history to reach 40 goals and now trails the all-time Rutgers-Camden leader, George Scafidi (1974-77) by only three goals. The two points, meanwhile, gave him 26 on the season and 94 for his career, passing Richard Peters (1976-79) to move into third place on the program's career points list.
The first-round victory also was the 99th career win at Rutgers-Camden for Head Coach Tim Oswald. Already the program's all-time leader for coaching wins with a 99-38-19 mark in his seventh year, Oswald can reach the 100-win milestone Sunday if the Scarlet Raptors defeat York.
Rutgers-Camden junior goalie Mike Randall (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East) collected four saves and was helped by a backsave as he posted his eighth shutout of the year. It was the 10th shutout, overall, for the Scarlet Raptors.
Medaille senior goalie Nick Kurtz (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) made six saves and also was aided by a backsave.