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Rutgers men's soccer powers past Michigan in final Big Ten home game

The Rutgers men's soccer team used an early second-half goal to defeat Michigan 2-1 at Yurcak Field on Busch campus.  – Photo by Rutgers Men's Soccer / Twitter

On Friday night, the Rutgers men's soccer team defeated Michigan 2-1, marking the Scarlet Knights’ (7-3-5, 3-2-2) first win against the Wolverines (4-8-3, 1-5-1) since 2015

The first 10 minutes of the first period started with both teams feeling each other out — a lot of passing around the middle of the pitch but not a lot of opportunities to score. 

Then in the 15th minute, graduate student defender Thomas DeVizio’s cross into the box found senior forward MD Myers, who headed the ball into the upper left corner of the net to give Rutgers the 1-0 lead. 

The goal marked Myers’ NCAA Divison I-leading 13th goal of the season. It was the sixth straight game that Myers scored at least 1 goal.

“I try not to look at (rankings) that much just because that kind of stuff can go to your head, and I am just trying to stay consistent, keep scoring every game and helping the boys get the win," Myers said. "Winning is the biggest thing for me, so we just have to keep it going.”

Michigan would respond in the 18th minute. A throw-in into the box led to the ball bouncing around and falling at the feet of Nicholas Kaloukian, who scored a goal from close range to tie the game 1-1. That is how the first-period scoring would end.

In the first period, the Wolverines had six shots compared to the Knights’ four shots. Both goalkeepers had one save.

The second period started with Rutgers on the front foot. In the 54th minute, freshman midfielder Cole Cruthers drove deep into Michigan territory and found freshman forward Ian Abbey on the right side of the box. Abbey picked his head up and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to give the Knights the 2-1 lead.

The Wolverines almost found the equalizer in the 88th minute off a header, but freshman goalkeeper Ciaran Dalton made a fantastic save to preserve the Knights' lead. That would be the last big chance for either team as the game ended in a 2-1 victory for Rutgers.

Michigan outshot the Knights 11-7 in the game, but Rutgers had five shots on target compared to the Wolverines’ three shots on target. The game got much chippier in the second period, and by the time the final whistle blew, the Knights had committed 16 fouls while Michigan had 13 fouls.

Rutgers will look to end its regular season Big Ten campaign on a high note when the team faces off against Penn State on Tuesday. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network. 

“It was a win — that was the most important thing today. We played really well in a bunch of games this year and tied them,” said head coach Jim McElderry after the game. “The players especially just wanted to do anything they could to try and get a win tonight, so (I’m) really proud of their effort and commitment. Scored 2 good goals tonight, so I’m really proud of the group.”

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

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