PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Rutgers men's soccer team is back on the road traveling to Ann Arbor to meet Michigan, a team receiving votes in this week's United Soccer Coaches Poll and checking in at No. 22 in the TopDrawer Soccer Poll.
BACK ON THE B1G ROAD
Only two more road games remain on Rutgers' regular season calendar, including Friday's trip to meet Michigan.
The Scarlet are looking to return to the win column following a 3-2 setback to Wisconsin last Sunday.
Junior Thomas Dovell gave RU a 1-0 edge midway through the first half, but the Badgers put together a trio of second half goals enroute to the win.
Rutgers cut its deficit down to one with less than 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Moments after Wisconsin pulled ahead 3-1, Erik Sa sent in a restart from the far side of the field into the box, where it was knocked in by a Badger defender.
RU had a few chances to try and force overtime with two late corners. Vincent Borden got a foot on a loose ball that was halted by Badger netminder Phillip Schilling with 5:46 to go and Wisconsin cleared out a serve as the final seconds wound down.
Dovell captured his first goal of the season in the 27th minute. Sa, racing into the box and looking to pass ahead, was stopped by the Badger defense. Senior Ryan Peterson, however came sliding in, pushing the ball to his left, and finding Dovell open eight-yards out for the game's first goal.
RU totaled six saves in the loss. Rafael Pereira made three saves in goal while the Rutgers defense accounted for the Scarlet Knights' three other stops.
The Wolverines welcome the Scarlet Knights to U-M Soccer Stadium with a 6-3-2 overall record and 3-1-1 Big Ten mark.
Michigan went 1-1 last week with a home loss versus Oakland on the previous Wednesday and a 2-1 double overtime victory at Penn State on Sunday.
Sophomore forward Jack Hallahan leads the Wolverines with 12 points (4G, 4A) followed by freshman forward Mohammed Zakyi with seven points (3G, 1A). Zakyi is fifth in the league in shots averaging 2.50 per contest.
In goal, sophomore Andrew Verdi holds a 0.85 goals against average and .737 save percentage with a pair of shutouts.
LAST TIME VS. MICHIGAN
The Rutgers men's soccer team closed out the 2016 campaign with a 2-1 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament play-in game on November 5, 2016.
Rutgers controlled the game at the whistle and had four early attempts to start the game.
Midway through the half, the Wolverines started to pester the Scarlet Knight net sending the ball to the left post to leading scorer Francis Atuahene. Atuahene was denied several times before finally finding the opening to put his Michigan squad up 1- 0 in the 32nd minute.
Opening the second half, Dante Perez nearly tied the score as he took a pass off his chest with his back to the goal, turned and fired at the Wolverine goal. The ball, however, hit the post and bounced back into play.
Perez would go on to net the equalizer in the 56th minute. Off a restart from 25-yards out along the right side of the field, Wright directed his kick into the box where Perez's header from the right post would find the back of the Wolverine's net.
Michigan, however, would score the game-winner in the 64th minute. After playing in from the right wing, the Wolverine's Ivo Cerda would capture the goal at close range.
Continuing to fight down 2-1, Rutgers had two late chances to tie the game again.
With four minutes remaining, Perez connected with Niel Guzman at the top center of the box, but rocketed the attempt over the Wolverine crossbar.
Michigan edged out Rutgers, 15-11, in shots and held a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks.
In goal, David Greczek logged five saves, while Louro registered a pair of stops.
ON THE STOP
Junior Rafael Pereira leads Big Ten and ranks third in the NCAA in total saves (59) and leads the Big Ten and is 12th nationally in saves per game (5.40).
Most recently, the Lisbon, Portugal native set season-highs with back-to-back seven save games with No. 2 Indiana (Sept. 22) and in-state rival Princeton (Sept. 26).
Pereira picked up his first Scarlet Knight shutout during week two in RU's 0-0 draw at UMKC on Sept. 3 and added another in last Tuesday's 1-0 victory at Princeton.
TOUGHEST SCHEDULE IN THE NATION
With games already in the book against five members of the top six through 11 games, the Rutgers men's soccer team is currently playing the toughest schedule in the nation.
RU faced two of the country's best during opening weekend with 2016 national runner-up, No. 2 Wake Forest, and 2016 national semifinalist, No. 4 North Carolina.
Rutgers has also clashed with current No. 6 Michigan State to open up Big Ten play on Sept. 9 and immediately followed with No. 3 Maryland.
More recently, Rutgers kicked off against Ohio State, who recently cracked the Top 25 and this week is receiving votes, as well as current No. 1 Indiana.
Still left on the schedule is Friday night's match with Michigan, a team receiving votes, and Columbia, who currently ranks No. 14.
Team - (Opponents - Current Rank)
1. Rutgers - (No. 1 Indiana, No. 2 Wake Forest, No. 3 Maryland, No. 4 North Carolina, No. 6 Michigan State, No. 14 Columbia, RV Ohio State, RV Michigan)
2. Santa Clara - (No. 1 Indiana, No. 3 Maryland, No. 22 Washington, No. 23 Seattle, No. 24 California, No. 25 SMU)
3. UCLA - (No. 3 Maryland, No. 5 Clemson, No. 8 Stanford, No. 10 Georgetown, No. 22 Washington, No. 24 California, RV New Mexico)
4. St. Louis - (No. 2 Wake Forest, No. 6 Michigan State, No. 8 Stanford, RV Syracuse, RV Akron)
5. Michigan State - (No. 1 Indiana, No. 3 Maryland, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 15 Butler, RV Akron, RV Ohio State, RV Michigan, RV Dartmouth, RV Army)
Four of Rutgers' next five games will be at home at Yurcak Field. The Scarlet Knights host NJIT on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. Fans will receive a free Rutgers Soccer silicone bracelet.
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