#33 Rutgers Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #4 American
#33 Rutgers Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
Rutgers Team Page


With the shakeup in the old Big East, Rutgers has a nice opportunity to emerge as a serious contender in the American Athletic Association. The schedule is going to still be very tough. New conference mates like SMU help make up for the departure of Georgetown and Marquette. But overall the Scarlet Knights will have more winnable games on the schedule. That may not help the RPI, but a third or fourth place finish in the AAC is better than the tenth best mark in the Big East.

2012 Record: 7-7-1, 3-4-1
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: Dan Donigan

As long as Kene Eze and Mael Corboz are on the pitch, Rutgers will score goals. Eze, a senior forward, netted eight of the Scarlet Knights’ 18 goals. Corboz, a sophomore, accounted for half of their 14 assists. Eze is a big 6-2 playmaker who can do more than just score goals. Corboz added three goals to his seven assists and few players had a more productive freshmen campaign in 2012. There are high hopes that Corboz will continue his fine play as a sophomore and even develop into a potent secondary scorer behind Eze. But it would be very helpful if this group could find another consistent scorer. Mitchell Taintor tallied three goals as a freshman and fellow sophomore midfielder Dimitri Vassiliadis will get up and take some shots, but Rutgers needs a forward next to Eze who can find the back of the net. Thomas O’Rourke showed flashes as a freshman and Todd Webb is back after missing nearly all of last season with an injury. Rutgers also has speedy incoming freshman Andrew Weber joining the fray. He can break down defenders off the dribble, but the best of the incoming freshmen are midfielders Erik Sa and Spencer Hambleton. Sa is a very creative midfielder and will make his biggest impact setting up the players up front, yet he has a pretty nice shot. Hambleton is a versatile player and Rutgers will likely play him in the back or in a defensive midfield role.

Better days should be ahead for Rutgers. This is a very young team. Eze and Joe Setchell are the only two seniors on the roster and there are only two juniors. That is a young, young squad. Coach Dan Donigan will need players to step up at every position and the lack of experience will show, especially early in the 2013 season. That includes in goal, where Kevin McMullen is gone after starting all 15 contests. Once again it is youthful talent that must fill the void, but none of them have any collegiate experience. Incoming freshmen Mitchell Walier and David Greczek are both big, athletic keepers. Sophomore Sean Matteo and redshirt freshmen Ryan Baird and Ryan Szemple have at least been around for a year. Until one of them emerges, Coach Donigan could ride the hot hand for a while…if there is a hot hand to ride.

Final Projection:
The defense will be happy to get Joe Setchell back after he missed all but the first two games of the 2012 campaign. He started every contest in 2011 after coming in from the junior college ranks. Sophomores Ross Tetro, Mitchell Taintor and Drew Morgan were all regular starters as freshmen and should be ready to take a big step forward. Even though there are a whole lot of underclassmen on this roster, the last two recruiting classes have been very good. And many of the sophomores have a year of starting experience under their belt. They are ready to take on a bigger role now and the talent is there for this Rutgers team to make a serious run at an NCAA Tournament bid. If they do not now, they will next year and the year after.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Kene Eze, Senior, F, 8
Assists: Mael Corboz, Sophomore, M, 7
Shots: Kene Eze, Senior, 23
Saves: None

Madness 2013 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#45 Erik Sa
#58 Spencer Hambleton


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