Tomorrow, the Rutgers men’s soccer team will host Wisconsin in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Scarlet Knights (8-4-5, 4-2-2) will look to win their first conference tournament game since 2015.
Rutgers will enter the tournament as the two seed, which marks its best-ever regular season finish in the Big Ten. The Badgers (6-6-3, 3-4-1) come into the match as the seven seed. These two teams first faced off early in the season on September 23. In that game, the Knights got a 2-0 victory.
Rutgers got out to an early 1-0 lead in the 16th minute, and in the 23rd minute, Wisconsin’s Inaki Iribarren got a red card that forced the Badgers to play a man down the rest of the game. The Knights added another goal in the second half and cruised to a 2-0 win as freshman goalkeeper Ciaran Dalton made three crucial saves in the match.
Wisconsin had an up-and-down season but finished the regular season on a two-game win streak. The team beat Northwestern 1-0 and then upset Ohio State 3-2. The Badgers’ strength has been their defense. They have only allowed their opponents to score 18 goals, which is second in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin is also only allowing its opponents to take 10 shots per game. A big reason for the Badgers’ strong defense is goalkeeper Carter Abbott. Abbott has made 48 saves this season and has a .727 save percentage.
Wisconsin’s attack has struggled this season. The Badgers have only scored 23 goals all season which is tied for the third lowest in the Big Ten. They are only taking 10.3 shots per game. Maxwell Keenan has led the team with 7 goals and also has chipped in two assists.
Unlike Wisconsin, Rutgers' defense has struggled this year. The team has allowed 30 goals, which is the second worst in the Big Ten, and is allowing its opponents to take 10.2 shots per game.
The Knights have excelled on the attack. The team scored 37 goals this season which leads the conference. No other team has more than 32. They also lead the Big Ten with 246 shots this season.
The success of the offense is in large part due to senior forward MD Myers. Myers leads the conference with 13 goals and 30 points. Myers is the only player in the Big Ten with a double-digit goal total and the only player with more than 20 points.
Passing Myers the ball has been junior midfielder Jason Bouregy and senior midfielder Jackson Temple. Bouregy leads the Big Ten with eight assists, and Temple is tied for second with seven. Temple is also second on the team with 5 goals.
The game will kick off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network+ and 88.7 WRSU-FM as Rutgers looks to advance to the semifinals.
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