No. 2 Rutgers-Camden, No. 9 Montclair State play to 0-0 tie
CAMDEN, N.J. (Oct. 12, 2013) – It was a game fitting of two of the top programs in the New Jersey Athletic Conference and the nation, and the Rutgers University-Camden and Montclair State University men's soccer teams didn't disappoint. The two teams battled for 110 minutes here Saturday afternoon before settling with a 0-0 double-overtime deadlock in the Scarlet Raptors' Homecoming Day game.
Rutgers-Camden, which is ranked No. 2 nationally in the NSCAA poll and No. 3 in the D3soccer.com Top 25, improves to 12-0-2 overall and 4-0-2 in the NJAC, extending its two-year undefeated string to 26 games (21-0-5). The 26 consecutive games without a loss ties for 16th place on the all-time NCAA Division III list with Nebraska Wesleyan (Sept. 1, 1999-Sept. 17, 2000). The Raptors' last defeat was a 4-3 decision in the first overtime at Montclair State on Sept. 29, 2012.
Montclair State, meanwhile, is ranked No. 9 in the D3soccer.com poll and has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the NSCAA poll this season. The Red Hawks stand at 10-2-2 overall and 2-1-2 in the NJAC, extending their own unbeaten string to four games (3-0-1). They are 18-10-5 in the all-time series against Rutgers-Camden, including 7-2-1 in the last 10 games.
While the Scarlet Raptors extended their overall unbeaten streak, they saw their home winning streak snapped at 13 games. Rutgers-Camden hadn't lost or tied at home since a 1-0 defeat against Rutgers-Newark on Sept. 15, 2012.
In a matchup between two potent offenses, it was strong defensive play that ruled the day. While Montclair State held a 33-20 advantage in shots and both teams took six corner kicks, the defenses kept most opportunities to a minimum.
Rutgers-Camden senior goalie Mike Randall (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East) finished with eight saves to record his seventh shutout of the season, while MSU freshman keeper Michael Gonzalez (Kenilworth, NJ/Union Catholic) had seven saves. He now owns two shutouts and has contributed to four other shutouts for the Red Hawks, who have seven as a team.
After Rutgers-Camden controlled the early part of the first half, Montclair State came on strong the rest of the half and held a 15-5 advantage in shots for the first 45 minutes. The Red Hawks led in shots, 29-13, after regulation before the Scarlet Raptors out-shot them, 7-4, in overtime.
In the fourth minute of the second half, the Red Hawks nearly notched a goal when sophomore midfielder Lucas Terci (Union, NJ/Union) hit a header off the crossbar.
Rutgers-Camden had a great chance to end the game in the second overtime when senior midfielder Mitch Grotti (Milmay, NJ/Millville) hit a shot just past the left post.
At halftime, Rutgers-Camden honored the late Pat Baldiserra when his jersey #3 was publicly retired and a framed jersey was presented to his parents, Ronnie and Dennis. The only player in program history to have his uniform number retired, Pat was a standout midfielder for the Scarlet Raptors from 2004-06, becoming the first NSCAA All-American in program history as a junior in 2006 before a tragic automobile accident took his life. He was a three-time First Team NJAC midfielder and a two-time team MVP. In only three seasons, he notched 14 goals and 24 assists for 52 points, currently 11th on the all-time program list. He is tied for third on the program's career assist list (only four shy of the record), and was coming off a junior year when he had 13 assists, at the time a single-season mark. In his memory, a major NJAC post-season honor was named the "Pat Baldiserra Midfielder of the Year" award.
Both teams return to action Wednesday. The Scarlet Raptors play a 4 p.m. non-conference game at Haverford College. The Red Hawks entertain Kean University in a 7 p.m. NJAC game.