On Thursday night, the Rutgers men’s soccer team fell to UPenn 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The loss concluded a historic season for the Scarlet Knights (10-5-6, 4-2-2).
The Rutgers season ended with a whimper, being shut out for only the third time all season. Despite the poor ending, the Knights had a very memorable season and achieved a lot. They finished second in the Big Ten during the regular season and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Rutgers won the program’s first Big Ten Tournament Championship and its first conference tournament championship since 1997.
On top of the team's success as a whole, the Knights experienced a lot of individual success. Rutgers players received eight conference awards, a program record. Senior forward MD Myers was selected as the unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year. Myers led the Big Ten with 13 goals and 33 points. No other players in the conference had double-digit goals or scored more than 30 points.
Freshman midfielder Cole Cruthers was named Co-Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten and was selected to the All-Freshman team. Cruthers only scored 1 goal and chipped in three assists, but he helped the Knights control the midfield and showed veteran composure on the pitch.
Freshman forward Ian Abbey and freshman goalkeeper Ciaran Dalton both joined Cruthers on the All-Freshman team. Abbey scored the 3rd goal in the Big Ten championship game for Rutgers. Dalton broke out in the tournament, making numerous big-time saves for the Knights.
Senior defender Hugo Le Guennec and junior midfielder Jason Bouregy got on the All-Big Ten Second Team. Bouregy was tied for the Big Ten conference lead with eight assists. Though senior midfielder Jackson Temple did not make an all-conference team, he was also tied for the conference lead with eight assists and was second on the team with 20 points.
Rutgers had an extremely proficient attack this season. The Knights led the Big Ten with 42 goals while no other team reached 40. Rutgers did this by getting many of the team's players involved. The Knights had 13 different goal-scorers throughout the season.
Rutgers has a lot to look forward to in the 2023 season. The Knights only have 10 players on their current roster that are senior or graduate students. Next year, head coach Jim McElderry and the underclassmen will look to take this program to even greater heights.
"I asked these players early on in the year to write their own history at Rutgers," McElderry said. "We have great soccer history at Rutgers, and they did that this year in winning the Big Ten Tournament and being the first men's team to win a Big Ten Conference tournament. I think it's been a great journey for our group. We are very disappointed not to advance tonight, but I'm also really proud of the group."
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