The Rutgers men's soccer team will return to Yurcak Field on Busch campus to take on Columbia this Wednesday. The Scarlet Knights (1-3-1, 0-0-0) are coming off a 4-0 road loss to UCLA and are looking to earn their first win against the Lions (1-1-1, 0-0-0).
Columbia is coming off a 1-0 loss to Sacred Heart. Despite being shutout, the Lions took five more shots and one more corner kick than the Pioneers (2-3, 0-0).
Will DeNight has scored a team-leading 3 goals for Columbia and already surpassed his goal tally from last season. DeNight is the team's main striker, and Rutgers will need to limit his shooting opportunities.
Carmine Falco and David Walley have both provided two assists this season and play an important role in the defense. The Knights will look to prevent the duo from creating chances and limit their time on the ball.
Michael Collodi will likely get his fourth start of the season in net on Wednesday. Collodi owns a save percentage of .846 and lets in less than 1 goal per game (GPG).
The Lions struggled offensively last season, as they scored a conference-low 8 goals in 16 games.
Rutgers, on the other hand, was one of the best offensive teams in the Big Ten last season, scoring 42 goals, the second-most in the conference.
Rutgers will need to take advantage of its depth in attack and the midfield to create scoring chances.
Graduate student midfielder Jackson Temple will play a big role in dishing out assists and finishing off scoring opportunities on Wednesday. The Knights have several players who can contribute to scoring, including sophomore forward Ian Abbey, senior forward Ola Maeland and junior midfielder Curt Calov.
In order for Rutgers to find success in this game, it must remain sharp on defense. Junior defender Joey Zalinksy and graduate student defender Chris Tiao are veteran players who can help lead the backline.
The Knights will look to win their final non-conference match against Columbia before heading into Big Ten play on Sunday against Michigan State.
The game between Rutgers and the Lions will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and will be broadcasted on Big Ten Plus, as well as 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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