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Maryland men’s soccer vs. Rutgers preview: Terps finish their 5-game home stand

The Terps look to rebound offensively against the Scarlet Knights.

Matthew Regan

Even though Maryland men’s soccer played to a scoreless draw against No. 4 Indiana Friday night, head coach Sasho Cirovski said it felt like a loss after his team failed to record a shot on goal in 110 minutes.

“We were the second-best team on the field tonight,” he said after the game.

Despite a result he did not want, Cirovski was pleased that the defense didn’t let the offensive struggles influence their performance. It was the backline’s third shutout in its first five games of the season.

“To keep a good team like that off the board for 110 minutes is superb, I think,” goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair said.

Indiana forced St. Clair to make a career-high six saves, including his two best in overtime to keep the Hoosiers off the board. St. Clair and his backline compensated for a poor offensive performance, holding one of the best teams in the country scoreless for the second time in the last three years.

“I think that all the guys that were in the backline, whatever formation we played, definitely competed,” senior captain George Campbell said.

The Terps will now look to move past Indiana and onto Rutgers Tuesday night for the last game in their five-game home stand. Maryland has won nine out of 10 matchups against the Scarlet Knights all-time, including all three since the two programs both joined the Big Ten.

Last season, Jake Rozhansky knocked in a 104th-minute rebound in overtime to beat Rutgers, 3-2, on the road.

The game is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. ET. It will be televised on the Big Ten Network, streamed on BTN2Go here and broadcast by WMUC Sports here.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-3-1)

2016 Record: 1-14-2, 0-6-2 Big Ten

Head coach Dan Donigan. After coaching St. Louis to seven NCAA Tournament appearances in nine seasons, Donigan joined the Scarlet Knights in 2008. He won Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2015 after a top-25 season and has a career record of 166-114-37.

Players to know

Senior forward/midfielder Dante Perez, No. 16. As a junior, Perez’s five goals ranked second on the Scarlet Knights. One of those five scores came against the Terrapins to force overtime in Maryland’s eventual 3-2 double overtime win. Perez has a goal and an assist this season.

Redshirt senior forward Ethan Vanacore-Decker, No. 9. As a senior, Vanacore-Decker sat out after transferring from Louisville. Prior to that, he spent his first two years in college at UConn. Now in his third program in five years, the forward has two goals, an assist and a team-leading 22 shots in his first five games as a Scarlet Knight.


Recent shot production. After starting the season against two ranked teams on the road, Rutgers has had double-digit shot totals in its last three matches. The Scarlet Knights have 59 shots in their last three games after having just 10 in their first two against No. 2 Wake Forest and No. 4 North Carolina. Twenty-two of Rutgers’ 69 shots this season came from Vanacore-Decker, who is averaging over 4.4 shots per game.


Winning conference games. Since joining the Big Ten with Maryland, Rutgers has just five conference wins, four of which came in 2015. The Scarlet Knights had one conference win in 2014 and none last season. They started conference play this year against No. 13 Michigan State with a 2-1 loss. Rutgers is coming off a one-win season, so this a good match for Maryland to restart momentum it had prior to Friday’s draw.

Three things to watch

1. How will the offense respond after Friday night’s performance? The Terps didn’t record a single shot on goal Friday night against No. 4 Indiana, a stat head coach Sasho Cirovski couldn’t recall seeing in his 25 years of coaching at Maryland. They had seven total shots, four of them from Gordon Wild, but most sailed over the net for goal kicks. Maryland’s one goal in its last two games was a free kick, so the Terps haven’t seen a goal in the run of play in over a week.

2. Will we see a fourth shutout for the Terps? The defense looked like the biggest unknown heading into the season, but through five games, the backline has quickly turned into a mainstay. The Terps have posted shutouts in three games already this season, half the number they had all of last year. Along with the defense, much of the credit Friday night belongs to St. Clair, who kept two would-be-winners out of the net against Indiana.

3. Will Sebastian Elney and Eric Matzelevich continue to split time? Matzelevich came off the bench for Elney Friday night, but only ended up playing three fewer minutes. In the game prior, Matzelevich played 73 minutes at forward to Elney’s 49. As a veteran, Elney will continue to get the starts, but Matzelevich has shined in his time so far this season. The freshman has two goals already, and this young energy can bode well for a team that needs to collect itself after a disappointing showing against the Hoosiers.