In its first match in more than two weeks, the Rutgers men’s soccer team defeated Northwestern 1-0 on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Scarlet Knights (4-4-0, 4-4-0) were able to end their regular season on a positive note after the program missed two contests due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns.
Before the match, the program also celebrated its senior student-athletes. Those recognized for their dedication and hard work included seniors midfielders Kyle Galloway and Vincenzo Pugliese, forward Ritchie Barry and defender Vincent Borden.
Rutgers’ lone goal of the afternoon was scored in the 57th minute by Galloway, marking his first goal of the season. With the goal, Galloway now joins four other student-athletes who have found the back of the net this season for the Knights. Rutgers’ leading goal scorer this year is Barry, who has totaled 4 goals this season.
“I was really happy to see him... put his head down and smash it at the goal,” said head men’s soccer coach Jim McElderry after the game. “I’m really happy for him, and it really helped us.”
The Knights ended the match with a 10-7 shot advantage over the Wildcats (2-7-1, 2-7-1) while also holding a 5-4 edge in shots on target. Junior midfielder Pablo Avila led Rutgers in this category with three total shots.
Despite several Northwestern attempts to score, sophomore goalkeeper Oren Asher was able to complete his fourth shutout of the season, a number that ranks second in the Big Ten behind Indiana’s Roman Celentano.
“He’s grown as a young man in this past year and really stepped into a leadership role,” McElderry recently said on his podcast “The Jim McElderry Show.” “He is super competitive and really holds our players to a high standard. He holds himself to that high standard.”
While the Knights have tied for the least amount of matches played of any Big Ten team this season, the program still has several players who find themselves in top spots statistically. With his four goals, Barry is tied for third in the Big Ten while also landing in the top 10 in points this season.
Sophomore midfielder Jackson Temple has also been a valuable contributor for Rutgers as he has his name amid Big Ten leaders. Temple is in the top three in the conference in shots and shots on goal per match to go along with converting 2 goals this season.
Now, with the regular season behind them, the Knights will enter the Big Ten Tournament as a No. 5 seed, the highest tournament seed the program has achieved since 2015. To open the tournament, Rutgers will travel to face No. 4 Maryland on Saturday.
“Every senior played an important role today,” Galloway said after the game. “We’re really just excited ... to get a win and then move on into the tournament with this type of momentum, so I'm just really excited for myself and the team.”
For updates on the Rutgers men's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.