Beckford Leads Men’s Soccer to 6-2 Rout of Rutgers
Penn State (3-9-2) defeated Rutgers (4-10-1) 6-2 in Piscataway, New Jersey Sunday afternoon, adding the first win to the Nittany Lions’ conference record as the regular season draws to a close.
The match was an attacking masterclass from the Nittany Lions, who had only scored eight goals on the season before Sunday’s match. Goals from Ethan Beckford, Aymar Sigue, Ryan Gallagher, and Mac Curran sealed a dominant win from a Penn State side lacking midfield magician Aaron Molloy.
How It Happened
Gallagher scored in the first minute of the match, collecting a sliding pass from Beckford and firing from six yards out to give the Nittany Lions a rare early lead. But a powerful solo run from Rutgers forward Brian Hawkins culminated in a cool finish past Josh Levine to equalize five minutes later.
Rutgers’ momentum continued to grow until the 20th minute, when Callum Pritchatt slipped a curve through ball behind the Scarlet Knight’s defense into the path of Ethan Beckford. The freshman forward dribbled past goalkeeper Raphael Pereira, but his touch was heavy and took the ball out of bounds.
The Nittany Lions’ offensive speed posed a threat to the high-pressing Rutgers back line throughout the first half. Pritchatt exposed this mismatch again in the 29th minute by playing another long ball over the top of the Rutgers defense and to the feet of senior Aymar Sigue. The hard-running Canadian calmly toe-poked the ball under an onrushing Pereira to give the Lions a 2-1 lead.
Pereira made several impressive saves to keep the gap in the scoreline from widening, but Rutgers were unable to equalize again before the break.
The Scarlet Knights recorded the first chance of the second half when Hawkins slipped a clever pass to forward Ryan Peterson. A slight touch from Levine was just enough to deflect the senior’s shot wide.
But it was Beckford’s offensive dominance that defined the second half. In the 59th minute, he cut across the top of the 18-yard box from the left side, beating four defenders and breaking into the penalty area where he was hacked down by a Rutgers defender. He confidently blasted the ensuing penalty into the bottom right corner.
Less than a minute later, the freshman forward powered past a defender on the right and slotted a rolling finish to Pereira’s far post. Mac Curran scored from a Sam Bollinger cutback in the 67th, and the Nittany Lions were firmly in control with a four goal lead.
Rutgers added a second goal in the 83rd, when sophomore winger Tim McQuad followed up a crossbar rebound on a Rutgers corner. But Penn State redshirt freshman Daniel Gonzales added a sixth for the Nittany Lions a minute later, chipping the ball over Pereira’s head to score his first goal of the season. Both teams squandered several late chances, and Penn State maintained its significant lead, winning with a final score of 6-2.
Player Of The Game
Ethan Beckford | Freshman | Forward
The powerful center forward registered an assist and two goals in his most impressive Penn State performance yet.
The Nittany Lions face James Madison (8-5-3) in Harrisonburg, Virginia on Wednesday.
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The schedule is highlighted by a Monday night dual against Rutgers at the Bryce Jordan Center in February.