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Rutgers men's soccer drops regular season finale to UCLA

The Rutgers men's soccer team had a bittersweet Senior Day, honoring many important players in the program but losing a close 1-0 game to UCLA. – Photo by Rutgers Men's Soccer / Twitter

Yesterday afternoon, the Rutgers men's soccer team fell to UCLA 1-0 in the program's regular-season finale and Senior Day. The loss ended a two-game win streak for the Scarlet Knights (8-4-5, 4-2-2).

After the game, Rutgers honored a number of seniors that are set to depart the program. These names included graduate students Pablo Avila, Thomas DeVizio and Zach Riviere as well as seniors MD Myers, Jackson Temple, Randy Arronis, Hugo Le Guennec, Anthony O’Donnell, Chris Tiao and Keegan Vedder. 

The Knights started on the front foot taking a bunch of shots on goal, but none were able to find the back of the net. The Bruins (9-5-1, 3-3-1) were able to weather Rutgers’ initial offensive barrage and strike first in the 25th minute when Riley Ferch’s shot found the back of the net.

The Knights continued to put offensive pressure on the UCLA backline but ultimately could not score a goal and the Bruins took a 1-0 lead into halftime.

Rutgers dominated the stat sheet in the first period. The Knights took eight shots while UCLA took only three shots and scored the lone goal. Goalkeeper Nate Crockford made two saves for the Bruins in the half.

The second period was more of the same for Rutgers. The team continued to pressure the UCLA backline, but no results came of the effort. 

In the 86th minute, the Knights drew a foul in the box that gave a penalty kick to Myers. The forward, who is tied for the NCAA lead in goals, stepped up to take the penalty kick but was denied by Crockford, and the follow-up shot from junior midfielder Jason Bouregy was saved again by Crockford. That would be the last big chance for the program in a game which ended in a 1-0 Bruins victory.

Despite the loss, Rutgers dominated the stat sheet. The Knights took 15 shots and six shots on goal while UCLA only took six shots and one shot on goal. Crockford made six saves for the Bruins, while freshman goalkeeper Ciaran Dalton did not make a save in the game for Rutgers. 

UCLA committed 10 fouls in the game while the Knights committed eight fouls. Myers took three shots on goal but could not add to his goal count. This was the first game of the season that Rutgers failed to score a goal. 

Despite the loss, the Knights have done enough to earn themselves a home Big Ten Tournament game. While the opponent has yet to be determined, Rutgers will kick off its Big Ten Tournament this Friday at Yurcak Field on Busch campus.

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

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