November 6, 2013

Rutgers-Camden advances to NJAC championship game

More news about: Rutgers-Camden men's team

CAMDEN, N.J. (Nov. 6, 2013) – The top-seeded Rutgers University-Camden men's soccer team collected two goals in each half and went on to eliminate No. 4 seed The College of New Jersey, 4-1, here Wednesday night in a New Jersey Athletic Conference Men's Soccer semifinal game.

The Scarlet Raptors, who improve to 18-0-2, advance to the NJAC championship game, which they will host on Saturday at 1 p.m., trying to win their third consecutive conference title. Rutgers-Camden will face No. 3 seed Rutgers-Newark, which posted its own 4-1 win over #2 seed Montclair State University Wednesday night.

TCNJ, which had tied Rutgers-Camden during the regular season, 1-1 in double overtime on Oct. 2 in Ewing, falls to 12-6-2.

The meeting was only the second time the two teams have played in the NJAC playoffs. TCNJ captured a 1-0 victory on its field in the 2005 conference championship game. Overall, the Lions lead the all-time series between the conference rivals, 22-7-5.

  The Raptors, ranked No. 3 in the Top 25 and No. 4 in the NSCAA national poll, extended their two-year unbeaten string to 32 games (27-0-5), aided by single goals from senior midfielder Keegan Balle (Naperville, IL/Neuqua Valley), sophomore midfielders Connor Hurff (Sewell, NJ/St. Augustine Prep) and Jake Dowiak (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown) and sophomore forward Mike Ryan (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee).

Senior midfielder Mitch Grotti (Milmay, NJ/Millville) collected two assists to hike his team-leading total to nine, while senior back Bobby Foster (Burlington, NJ/Burlington Township) added one assist.

TCNJ spoiled the Raptors' bid for their 11th shutout of the season when junior midfielder Kevin McCartney (Old Bridge, NJ/St. Joseph's) scored a goal with 2:51 remaining, assisted by senior forward Kevin Shaw (Brookside, NJ/West Morris Mendham).

Balle put the Scarlet Raptors ahead to stay at 25:16, following a corner kick by Grotti that was headed down into the box by Foster. Balle drilled in his fourth goal of the season.

Eight minutes later, Ryan and a TCNJ back were battling for possession in the box and Hurff ran onto the loose ball near the left side of the goal and drilled a shot into the far side for his sixth goal of the season.

Dowiak made it a 3-0 game with 20:08 remaining, converting a cross from Grotti for his second goal of the year. Ryan capped the scoring at 83:26 on a breakaway to the right side, pulling TCNJ senior goalie Aaron Utman (Pennington, NJ/Hopewell Valley) out of the net and tapping into an open goal. It was the 19th goal of the season for Ryan, tying Grotti's single-season program mark set in 2011.

McCartney's third goal of the season, a shot into the left corner from just inside the box, came at 87:09.

TCNJ held a 17-14 edge in shots and Rutgers-Camden had a 5-3 lead in corner kicks.

Raptor senior goalie Mike Randall (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East) made six saves while posting his 18th victory of the season, one shy of the program record. Utman had five saves for the Lions.

No contests today.
No contests today.
No contests today.