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Rutgers men's soccer set to begin conference play against Michigan State

The Rutgers men's soccer team will most likely need sophomore goalkeeper Ciaran Dalton to make a couple of saves if it wants to beat Michigan State. – Photo by Tom Gilbert /

The Rutgers men's soccer team will begin conference play at Yurcak Field on Busch campus against Michigan State on Sunday. The Scarlet Knights (2-3-1, 0-0-0) will look to start Big Ten play with a win against the Spartans (4-0-1, 0-0-0).

Last season, Rutgers fell to Michigan State by a score of 4-3. In that match, former graduate student forward MD Myers scored a goal and tallied an assist. Senior forward Ola Maeland also found the back of the net.

Overall, the Knights are 1-7-1 against the Spartans, with their last win dating back to 2021.

Michigan State is coming off a strong 1-0 win over No. 10 Notre Dame. Zac Kelly, the team's starting goalkeeper, was a key factor in the win with his four saves.

Kelly has had an impressive start to the season, as he owns a save percentage of .889 and lets in less than 1 goal per game (GPG).

The Spartans have only conceded 2 goals this season and have looked solid on defense.

Jeremy Sharp and Will Eby have played every minute of the season so far and lead the backline. The duo will look to continue their strong defensive performances on Sunday against Rutgers.

On offense, Sean Kerrigan has scored a team-leading 2 goals. Sharp and Jack Guggemos play a pivotal role in creating scoring chances, as they have combined for five assists to start the season.

The Knights will look to graduate student midfielder Jackson Temple to continue his positive form. Temple has netted 2 goals and provided two assists in six games.

Another offensive spark for Rutgers is freshman forward Luciano Sanchez. Sanchez has hit the ground running, as he has scored 2 goals in the last three games.

Sophomore goalkeeper Ciaran Dalton will need to improve between the posts. Dalton has a save percentage of .500 and allows opposing teams to score an average of 2.20 GPG through five starts in goal.

The Knights have won back-to-back home games and will look to extend their streak on Sunday. Beginning Big Ten play with a win will be a step in the right direction for the rest of the season.

The game between Rutgers and Michigan State will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday and will be broadcast on Big Ten Plus and 88.7 WRSU-FM.

"It’s going to be a very tough game," said head coach Jim McElderry. "We’ve had a lot of tough games with those guys."

For more updates on the Rutgers women's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on X.

To view more of Matthew Mangam's work, follow @matthewmangam on X.

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