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Rutgers men's soccer extends unbeaten start to 2021 season with win over Mount St. Mary's

Senior defender Thomas DeVizio collected an assist on one of Rutgers' two goals against Mount St. Mary's. – Photo by Ben Solomon / Rutgers Athletics

The Rutgers men’s soccer team earned its third win of the season last night, beating Mount St. Mary’s 2-0 at Yurcak Field and starting unbeaten in four games for the first time since 1990.

“I think the group is just kind of coming together really well in terms of they get along well,” head men’s soccer coach Jim McElderry said after the match. “They understand how difficult it is to win matches so they come with a great mentality, and a lot of that is on our older players.”

The Scarlet Knights (3-0-1, 0-0-0) opened the scoring in the 36th minute, when senior defender Thomas DeVizio got away from his opponent in the right corner and found sophomore forward Ola Maeland, whose free header found the bottom right corner of the net.

Rutgers got its second goal in the 59th minute, when Maeland set up a cross from the right flank that fell to senior midfielder Pablo Avila. Avila controlled the ball, turned around and launched a powerful shot just inside the right goal post to double the lead and score his first goal since 2019.

“I saw (Maeland) running, and I made sure that I have to get into the box — like Coach says, 'get numbers in the box',” Avila said after the game. “So I get the ball, I see it coming, I get a touch, it was in the air; I had the (Mount St. Mary’s) right back close to me, so I thought the best thing was to shoot it first time.”

The Knights outshot the Mountaineers (1-2-0, 0-0-0) by a 16-6 margin — with a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal.

Defensively, Rutgers earned its fourth straight shutout of the season, with junior goalkeeper Oren Asher making two saves in the win. The performance marks his 11th career shutout for the Knights — earning Asher his second consecutive Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award.

“I think not conceding goals has been really impressive I think for our guys,” McElderry said. “I think they take it personally.”

Despite their four game unbeaten streak, McElderry still sees room for improvement — particularly when it comes to finishing goal scoring opportunities.

“We played great. Everyone was turned on from the beginning, we just need to put the ball in the back of the net,” Maeland said in the post-game interview. “And that’s going to come, I think.”

Rutgers continues its non-conference slate on Friday, when they host Lehigh at Yurcak Field.

For updates on the Rutgers men's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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